Love > Fear = Faithfulness
Such love has no fear, because telos love expels all fear.
If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his telos love. — 1 Jn 4:18
The Gospel of Matthew begins:
Jesus is Immanuel, God with us.
The Gospel of Matthew ends:
Jesus is Lord of Heaven and Earth, he is with us.
God is telling us to trust Jesus more than our fears.
As evening approached, Joseph, a rich man from Arimathea who had become a follower of Jesus, went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. And Pilate issued an order to release it to him. Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a long sheet of clean linen cloth. He placed it in his own new tomb, which had been carved out of the rock. Then he rolled a great stone across the entrance and left. Both Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting across from the tomb and watching.
The next day, on the Sabbath, the leading priests and Pharisees went to see Pilate. They told him, “Sir, we remember what that deceiver once said while he was still alive: ‘After three days I will rise from the dead.’ So we request that you seal the tomb until the third day. This will prevent his disciples from coming and stealing his body and then telling everyone he was raised from the dead! If that happens, we’ll be worse off than we were at first.”
Pilate replied, “Take guards and secure it the best you can.” So they sealed the tomb and posted guards to protect it.
Evening. Darkness. Death. — Fear?
Joseph is fearless. He is willing to risk identifying with Jesus. It literally costs him, but Joseph believes that it is worth it to be faithful to his Lord.
Jesus’ murderers are afraid. They use the day of worship and rest to conspire. The faithless focus on control to manage their faith.
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.”
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.
Dawn. Light. Life. — Fear?
- Faithful women come to Jesus.
- Fearful guards faint.
- Angel encourages.
- Jesus encourages.
- Conspirators control.
Fear not. Come and see! What Jesus said was true. Go tell.
Fear not. Go tell the truth. They will see.
Fear losing control. Tell a costly lie.
Faith Over Fear Is Our Mission
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 apprentice all peoples, immersing 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.”