+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Opening: (A Collect for Sabbath Rest – Saturday)
Almighty God, who after the creation of the world rested from all your works and set aside a day of rest for all your creatures: Grant that we, putting away all earthly anxieties, may be duly prepared to meet you in worship, and that our rest here upon earth may be a preparation for the eternal rest promised to your people in heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Morning Reading: Matthew Matthew 28:1-20 (NLT)
Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to visit the tomb.
Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it. His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint.
Then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying. And now, go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and he is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there. Remember what I have told you.”
The women ran quickly from the tomb. They were very frightened but also filled with great joy, and they rushed to give the disciples the angel’s message. And as they went, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they ran to him, grasped his feet, and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t be afraid! Go tell my brothers to leave for Galilee, and they will see me there.”
The Report of the Guard
As the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and told the leading priests what had happened. A meeting with the elders was called, and they decided to give the soldiers a large bribe. They told the soldiers, “You must say, ‘Jesus’ disciples came during the night while we were sleeping, and they stole his body.’ If the governor hears about it, we’ll stand up for you so you won’t get in trouble.” So the guards accepted the bribe and said what they were told to say. Their story spread widely among the Jews, and they still tell it today.
The Great Commission
Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him—but some of them doubted!
Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
He is risen! Go and make disciples of all the nations.
“Then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen.”
“I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.
Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations….”
– Matthew 28:5-6,18-19 –
The resurrection is central to Christian theology. However the Gospel writers did not deal with the theological implications of the resurrection but simply recorded the facts. The Letters of the Apostle Paul help us appreciate the significance of this world-changing event.
If Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins.
– 1 Corinthians 15:17(NLT) –
Following His resurrection, Jesus became the One through whom God now mediates all authority. And consistent with His universal authority, Jesus sent His disciples into the whole world with the mandate to make disciples. Jesus’ commandment involved –
- reaching out to unreached people
- baptizing people into a covenant relationship with Jesus
- changing lives by teaching people to live and love like Jesus
The disciples were charged with going out in Jesus’ name, and reproducing “Christ in them” in the lives of others.
Questions for consideration:
- Can you remember the first Easter you celebrated as a believer? How did it differ from other Easters? Please explain.
- Can you remember your baptism? What were the circumstances? Please explain.
- When did you first become aware that you were part of the family of God? What were the circumstances? Please explain.
- Can you think of people who were instrumental in helping you grow up in Christ? Please explain.
- Have you shared the Gospel with another person? What was the result? Please explain.
- In your sphere of influence who needs to hear that God loves them and Christ died for them? Please explain.
Morning Prayer: For the Mission of the Church
O God, our heavenly Father, you manifested your love by sending your only-begotten Son into the world, that all might live through him: Pour out your Spirit on your Church, that we may fulfill his command to preach the Gospel to all people. Send forth laborers into your harvest; defend them in all dangers and temptations; and hasten the time when the fullness of the Gentiles shall be gathered in, and faithful Israel shall be saved; through your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
“Go and make disciples”
May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, and protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen