December 31

Text: Matthew 28:1-6

Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave.  And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it.  And his appearance was like lightning, and his garment as white as snow; and the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men.  And the angel answered and said to the women, "Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified.  He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying.”  (NASB)

Matthew saw the resurrected Son of God, the promised Messiah or Christ (the anointed one).

Everything Matthew wrote about Jesus, everything he saw in Jesus convinced him that Jesus was the Christ.  The Jewish people had many valid reasons to understand that Jesus was the Messiah that God promised Israel.  The gentile peoples had valid reasons for knowing that Jesus was the Christ that God promised all people.  Even we of now have valid reasons for understanding that Jesus is our Christ who can destroy our sins.

Satan, the beginning of deceit and the great deceiver (see John 8:44), deceived himself.  In thinking he was conquering Jesus by ending “his interference,” Satan conquered himself.  Satan was so focused on his hatred of God and his ambitions that he never considered what he was doing to himself.  In his opposition to God as expressed in Jesus, Satan accomplished God’s purpose.

God could work through Satan’s efforts because Jesus implicitly, unselfishly trusted God even in his (Jesus’) own hurt.  Without Jesus’ trust, God would have been limited in what He could do.

In an impressive scripture, Paul wrote, “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were entreating through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.  He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” 2 Corinthians 5:20, 21 (NASB).  Dare to be an ambassador for Jesus Christ because of what he did (and does) for us!

Suggestion for reflection: When you look at Jesus, who do you see?  (Read Philippians 2:5-11.)

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