Don't believe "Fake News" He is Risen.
Matthew 28 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave. 2 And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it. 3 And his appearance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. 4 The guards shook for fear of him and became like dead men. 5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. 6 He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. 7 Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you.”
8 And they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy and ran to report it to His disciples. 9 And behold, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and take word to My brethren to leave for Galilee, and there they will see Me.”
11 Now while they were on their way, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all that had happened. 12 And when they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, 13 and said, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole Him away while we were asleep.’ 14 And if this should come to the governor’s ears, we will win him over and keep you out of trouble.” 15 And they took the money and did as they had been instructed; and this story was widely spread among the Jews, and is to this day.
16 But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful. 18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
There has been much talk lately regarding news outlets calling others who report a different side to the story “fake news.” Surely there is a lot of poor and false reporting, misrepresentations which attempt to hide or at least spin the truth. This is nothing new, even if it is much more prevalent than ever before. While there were no newspapers, TV or internet, in today’s text we see that even regarding Jesus resurrection there was a deliberate attempt to report the story incorrectly. The text says: After the tomb was found to be empty, the text says: some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all that had happened. And when they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, and said, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole Him away while we were asleep.’ And if this should come to the governor’s ears, we will win him over and keep you out of trouble.” And they took the money and did as they had been instructed; and this story was widely spread among the Jews, and is to this day. It is the resurrection which sets Jesus apart from every other leader known to man, whether spiritual, political or social. The resurrection proves Jesus is who He said He was, the Son of God, one with the Father. It confirms what He said in John 14:6: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” That’s why the chief priests tried to alter the truth. The risen Savior would forever change and nullify the traditions they had established. That’s why, even to this day, so many people try to tell a false narrative about Christ, that He was just a man. They say that perhaps He was a good teacher, perhaps a prophet, but they refuse the truth that He is God’s Son, the risen Savior. They refuse to believe the resurrection, because to accept the truth about the empty tomb would require that they, like the chief priests, abandon every other tradition and philosophy for the sake of the gospel.
Still the empty tomb itself did not prove who Jesus is. The text says: And they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy and ran to report it to His disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and take word to My brethren to leave for Galilee, and there they will see Me.” Jesus was not just a vision. He was not a ghost, merely a spirit which appeared to them. The text says they took hold of His feet. In Luke 24:36-42 there is another account of Jesus appearing to the disciples. It says: He Himself stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be to you.” But they were startled and frightened and thought that they were seeing a spirit. And He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. While they still could not believe it because of their joy and amazement, He said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave Him a piece of a broiled fish; and He took it and ate it before them. Jesus was resurrected bodily. He died and was alive again. Jesus paid the price for the sin of all mankind with His death on the cross. But because He is alive, He is more than our Savior and Redeemer, He is the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings.
Jesus of course did not remain on earth as a man, because as a man He would eventually die again. Our human bodies are temporal, not eternal. Jesus ascended to the Father, returning to His place at the Father’s right hand. Before He left, in John 16:7, He gave us an assurance and a promise. He said: “I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.” We no longer see Jesus the man among us. But we have the Helper, the Holy Spirit to confirm the truth. The Holy Spirit though is much more than just a helper or guide. The Holy Spirit is God’s power. It was the Spirit of God which hovered of the chaos of the earth and brought forth order and creation, according to God’s word. It is the Holy Spirit who breathed life back into Jesus body. Romans 8:11 says: If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. Jesus says: “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10) The abundant life we have in Christ is more than a spiritual future eternity in heaven, though it is that. The abundant life we have in Christ, because of the cross and the resurrection, because of the power of the Holy Spirit in us, is to do the things that Jesus did, as He said we would and should. It is to walk in the fullness of His commission, His last words to us: “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Thank You for the finished work of the cross and for the empty tomb. Thank You that as You were raised up in body, so too, through the power of the Holy Spirit can I walk in the power of the resurrection, having authority to live the abundant life You came to give, fulfilling Your commission to go and make disciples, telling the truth about the cross and the resurrection. In Jesus name, the only name by which men can be saved, I pray. Amen.