Jesus after Easter – a 50-day series, Opposite Directions (Matthew 27:62-66 and 28:11)

Most of us long for miracles.  And Jesus’ perfect life, death on sinners’ behalf as the fulfillment of Passover, and His physical resurrection prove that He is willing and able to meet our greatest needs:  complete forgiveness and a new heart to trust and follow Him as our living King.  But even in the Bible, most of the journey with Jesus is lived in the moments between miracles.  In this 50-day series, we’ll consider some of those moments leading up to the next great miracle in the New Testament:  the fulfillment of Pentecost and the incredible growth of the Church.

 

In Matthew 28:11, we read that, while the disciples were headed north from Jerusalem to Galilee, the Roman guards who’d been posted at Jesus’ tomb to guard His body against theft (Matthew 27:62-66) were headed back into the city to break the bad news to the priests:  no one stole the body.  He rose from the dead.

The two groups were going in opposite directions for opposite goals.  If you are seeking to follow the Lord, you probably get that.  But I suspect at least some of those guards and priests genuinely (although wrongly) thought they were doing the right thing by trying to cover up the Lord’s resurrection.  Roman guards would’ve been concerned about maintaining a system of control by submission to Caesar.  And the Jewish priests would’ve been concerned about maintaining a system of pride by adhering to a list of moral practices.

The disciples were headed to meet with their risen Lord who has come to undo human systems at the individual heart level.  Jesus came to “lead the captives” (Psalm 68:18 and Ephesians 4:8) free from human pride in their works and control of their own selfishness, human rule, fear, and death itself by effectively humbling people to bring them under submission to His sovereign but loving hand.  He came to show the foolishness of human pride and attempts at self-righteousness by His work of grace on the cross that pleases His Father.

So know this:  as you are headed in one direction to live in submission only to Jesus and to trust only in His grace, many others will see His calling as a threat to their control and pride and head in the very opposite direction.  Stay close to your Lord.  Pray for even greater faith, hope, and love to trust and obey Him.  Pray to your Sovereign Lord to change their hearts, for only He can, just as only He changed and forgave yours.

For if we are moving in truly opposite directions, that will become increasingly clear to us and to those in the world who value control and selfish pride.  By His grace, the Lord Jesus will lovingly break the hearts of many to reveal the hopelessness of their ways.  Others will see our lives and message as a threat to theirs.

May we take up our cross of submission to our loving Lord, personal suffering at the hands of the world, and the sign of His sacrificial grace that heads to real Life by pride in Him and the safety of His control.

 

I hope today’s thought and others in this series will be helpful to you as you journey with Jesus in the moments between miracles.

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If you’d like to know more about who publishes the articles, videos, and other materials on tools4trenches, you can click on the picture of me and my wife.

 

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