Discussion questions for the start of the Bible Study
What is your favorite Easter memory?
What traditions do you observe at Easter?
What is the best thing that you have experienced in an Easter Worship Service?
Do you ever go to Sunrise service, and if so, why?
After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb.
In Matthew’s story of the empty tomb there is something appropriate about the two women who are at the tomb.
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary.
They had been there at the cross; they had been there when he was laid in the tomb; and now they were receiving the news of the resurrection.
John 19:25: Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.
Some identify the other Mary as the sister of Mary, mother of Jesus, which would mean Mary’s mother and father lacked imagination when it came to names. Another tradition is that she was Joseph’s sister. At any rate, what a great thing – if you are remembered for only one thing, to be remembered for being there at Easter!
2 And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4 For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. 5 But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he[a] lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead,[b] and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.’ This is my message for you.” 8 So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
Several elements jump out of this text:
(1) The women were told not to be afraid. Hard to do if you are in a graveyard and someone who was buried comes back to life. Also hard to do when you come face to face – if you are at all aware of yourself and your short comings, you will be afraid.
(2) The women were share the news. When they have discovered the fact of the Resurrection, their first responsibility is to proclaim it to and to share it with others. ‘Go, tell!’ is the first command which comes to all who have discovered the wonder of Jesus Christ for themselves.
(3) They were urged to rejoice. When Jesus greets them he greets them with the word Chairete; that is the normal word of greeting - but its literal meaning is ‘Rejoice!’
There is a Roman proverb: Magna est Veritas et praevalebit, “great is the truth and it will prevail.”
These people slandered Christ, there were bribes, there was dishonesty, and yet the truth prevailed.
I read a story in the recent issue of Reader’s Digest. A little boy came running to the parents afraid that he was going to die. He had been playing with a penny and swallowed it accidentally. His father palmed a penny and moved his hand behind the ear of the child and pretended to pull it out – this reassured the boy, who promptly took the penny and swallowed it and said, “do it again.”
Dishonesty gets us nowhere.
The truth comes out.
The truth of the Resurrection is out.
This is the farewell message from Jesus before he ascends into Heaven.
He does three important things:
(1) He reminds them of his power.
(2) He issues a command – a directive, what some would call the Great Commission.
We are sent out to make all the world his disciples.
(3) He promised that as he is leaving them, he will be present with them.