WEDNESDAY, MAY 3
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 28
Well… who would have thought it? Today we finish the Gospel According to Matthew. I have absolutely no idea how many have made this journey with me. I know it is at least a few because I periodically get an email, or a text, or a Facebook post from someone. But regardless of how many are on board, I am committed to continuing. I guess if we get to where no one is reading these I will have to reevaluate.
So, let’s take a look at this last chapter. This chapter starts at dawn on Sunday morning. By the way, the fact that Jesus was raised on Sunday is one of the main reasons the New Testament Church meets on Sundays. Meeting on Sundays was quite a novel idea at the time. Remember for the Jewish people it was all about Saturday being the Sabbath. Actually the Sabbath started at sundown on Friday and ended at sundown on Saturday. They recognized the Sabbath in an attempt to keep it holy.
The question then is what about us. Why don’t we “Remember the Sabbath (Saturday) to keep it holy”? As I just said, part of that has to do with the timing of the resurrection of Jesus. The other part has to do with the fact that Jesus said He is our rest. He is our Sabbath. It is in Him, not a day of the week, that we find our rest, our refreshing, our refocusing, and our worship.
That doesn’t mean that the concept of Sabbath is no longer important. It is incredibly important to remember that God established a rhythm to life that included work and rest. Too much work will eventually wear you down to nothing. Too much rest will eventually end up in accomplishing nothing. Every one of us needs to find that Sabbath rhythm to our lives.
As you have probably heard me say, I had the privilege of being at the tomb where Jesus was placed after His crucifixion. In the same way that it was empty on that Sunday morning, it was empty when I was there. It is still empty.
The Christian faith and the reality of Christianity hinges on one thing and one thing alone: the resurrection of Jesus. If Jesus is not raised from the dead then our faith is useless and we are without hope. If Jesus is not raised from the dead then He pulled the greatest hoax in the history of humanity. If Jesus is not raised from the dead then the Bible is useless, church is a waste of time, and living by a moral code makes absolutely no sense.
But if Jesus is raised from the dead we have a risen Savior to place our faith in and we have great hope. If Jesus is raised from the dead then He spoke the truth. If Jesus is raised from the dead then the Bible is true from cover to cover (even including the Book of Maps and the Concordance ;). If Jesus is raised from the dead, then church is a vital part of our existence and living by a God given moral code makes all the difference in the world.