By Katie Heishman (Co-pastor at the Prince of Peace Church of the Brethren (Oh.))
Matthew 28:1-16 “…afraid, yet filled with joy…”
When Mary Magdalene and the other Mary go to visit Jesus’ tomb, the world literally quakes as an angel rolls away the tomb stone and sits on it. The guards at Jesus’ tomb are so afraid they fall over in shock. The angel encourages the women: “Do not be afraid.” Yet the women are fearful, too, and it’s with fear and excitement that they take off toward Galilee with the news of Jesus’ resurrection. While the women are still fearful, they’re propelled by bravery and joy to share their good news with the other disciples. Once the guards are revived, their fear leads them to act in a cowardly way by taking a bribe and lying about Jesus’ resurrection.
Fear is a powerful emotion and Jesus knows that fear can lead us to take the easy way out, like the guards. He greets the women in their fear and excitement, and tells them, “You’re holding on to me for dear life. Don’t be frightened like that” (The Message). The joy of resurrection is that Jesus seeks to free us from fear that would lead us to be cowardly or stop us from doing hard things. Through Jesus, we don’t need to be afraid of fear or be afraid of hard things. You have good news to share and hard things to do! Do not be afraid.
Good News: Jesus frees us from fear and inspires us to bravery in the face of hard things.
Discussion question: Where would you like Jesus to release you from fear, which limits you or holds you back?
Go one step further: Breath Prayer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixA5xZgvYeo (A helpful way to rely on Jesus and let go of fear is through a breath prayer.)