Easter Sunday – March 31
Matthew 28:1-10 - 'Afraid Yet Filled With Joy'
Good Friday: it is finished.
Holy Saturday: silence reigns.
Easter Sunday: everything changes.
On a spectrum of 1-10 (1 being ‘hate it’ and 10 being ‘love it’), how do you feel about change? If you’re a 10, you love the opportunities change offers, the variety it promises. If you’re closer to 1, you’re likely a bit more hesitant, preferring the familiar because that’s what you know.
Easter Sunday signifies change on a cosmic scale: death has been defeated. Evil has been conquered. Justice has triumphed over injustice. Love has won.
Whether you’re a 10 or a 1 on the change scale, this is good news.
Our passage today tells us that the women, having met with the risen Jesus, rushed to tell the rest of the disciples the good news and they did so, ‘afraid yet filled with joy.’
Afraid yet filled with joy.
That seems a pretty decent response to experiencing an earthquake, having a conversation with some angels and then seeing your best friend raised from the dead.
Afraid yet filled with joy.
Everything has changed.
In his crucifixion, Jesus was the ultimate victim of injustice: a sinless man, executed by the state in the most humiliating way possible. In his resurrection, Jesus is victorious over this injustice, over evil, over death itself.
And, as Esau McCaulley wrote in a New York Times op-ed in 2022, ‘Jesus’ resurrection has implications not just for his body, but for all bodies subject to death. Christians believe that what God did for Jesus, he will do for us. The resurrection of Jesus is the forerunner of the resurrection of our bodies and restoration of the earth.’
Because of the resurrection, we have hope. In the face of evil and injustice, and even death, we can stand strong. We may be afraid – because this side of eternity, this side of Jesus’ return, we may still feel their sting – but as resurrection people, we can work alongside Jesus to usher in his kingdom of justice and righteousness. We can be filled with joy, because we know that evil, injustice and death will not ultimately triumph.
‘But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourself fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain.’ (1 Corinthians 15:57-58)
Reflect on ground-breaking change in the Philippines:
After four years of collaborative work with Philippine authorities, a study found that we’d helped reduce the prevalence of sex trafficking of children in bars and brothels by between 72%-86% in the cities where we’d worked!
We’re so grateful to God for making this remarkable transformation in the Philippines possible. And we’re so grateful for the courage of every single survivor, team member, partner and supporter who participated in God’s work – both practically and in prayer – to bring freedom and justice.
This is just the beginning. Because of the hope that comes from Jesus’ resurrection, we can confidently look forward to the day when no child is sexually exploited in the Philippines, or in any country around the world. Praise God!
God of glory,
by the raising of your Son
you have broken the chains of death and hell:
fill your Church with faith and hope;
for a new day has dawned
and the way to life stands open
in our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Easter Sunday Collect, Common Worship