The text for this lesson is Matthew 28:1–10
- The resurrection reveals that the Father has accepted the Son’s sacrifice for our sins, and it fills us with confident hope that, as Christ has been raised from the dead, we, too, will rise to eternal life.
- Law: Because of sin, I deserve eternal death and separation from God, and I am filled with fear.
- Gospel: The Father has accepted His Son’s sacrifice for sin, making me an heir of eternal life. He works through His Word to comfort me, replacing my fear with joy and empowering me to tell others about the Lord’s resurrection.
- In a time of war, we often say that soldiers “make the ultimate sacrifice” as they lay down their lives to defend their country. We also say that they “pay the price” by spilling their own blood so that their fellow citizens may live in freedom. How can we apply this image to Jesus’ death and resurrection and thus thank our God for His victory over death and the grave?
- Read Matthew 28:1–3. What does the earthquake mean? What does the stone being rolled away from the tomb mean? See Isaiah 29:6. What is significant about the angel’s appearance and clothing?
- Matthew 28:4 gives us the only reference to the guards in all of the four Gospel accounts of the resurrection. Why does Matthew mention that “the guards trembled and became like dead men”? See Matthew 27:62–66.
- Read once again the angel’s message to the women in Matthew 28:5–7. Why does the angel tell the women, “Do not be afraid”? Why does the angel mention “Jesus who was crucified”? What grand proclamation does the angel give, and what is the force of the phrase “He has risen”? What proof does the angel give for this grand proclamation? In verse 7, why does the angel tell the women a second time that Jesus “has risen from the dead”?
- In Matthew 28:8–9, what mixture of emotions do the women have? How do they respond when they actually meet and see the risen Lord?
- The Early Church considered each Sunday a “little Easter.” As a result, every Easter was viewed as a “big Sunday.” How does this show the centrality of Jesus’ resurrection for our Christian faith? How might we unwittingly downplay the centrality of our Lord’s resurrection victory over death? To help discuss these questions, look up 1 Corinthians 15:14, 17, 20–23; Romans 4:25; and 6:5.
- What is the most appropriate response we can have to the great proclamation of Jesus Christ risen from the dead? Why does the Church celebrate Easter for seven whole weeks? How do we truly get to celebrate Easter every Sunday in the Divine Service?