Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
In our reading for Easter Sunday, Matthew 28:1-10, we find the risen Christ. This tremendous good news has been obscured by many who wish to emphasize the differences between the various first century accounts. If we compare the four canonical Gospels we find that there is one angel, that there are several angels, that a variety of different people are mentioned as the first witnesses, that maybe some of the apostles came to the tomb and that sometimes only women are mentioned. This is all perfectly coherent. The different evangelists wrote their accounts not as an exhaustive and exclusive story but to communicate the big picture as clearly as possible. Some of Jesus’ followers went to the tomb early in the morning on the first day of the week. They found that Jesus was not present. There seems to be an angelic appearance. One or more people who witnessed this met the risen Jesus. He reminded them of his resurrection and sent them to tell others. The various differences in the accounts are not important. The risen Lord is important.
As we begin the season of Easter we proclaim boldly that Christ is risen from the dead. He is the firstfruits of the resurrection. Just as he passed through death into life, so he calls all who believe him to trust that he will bring them through death into life as well. Jesus has done all that is needed to rescue his people. He will bring it to pass. This is the message of Easter.
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