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28 After the Sabbath, as the light of the next day, the first day of the week, crept over Palestine, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to the tomb to keep vigil. Earlier there had been an earthquake. A messenger of the Lord had come down from heaven and had gone to the grave. He rolled away the stone and sat down on top of it. He veritably glowed. He was vibrating with light. His clothes were light, white like transfiguration, like fresh snow. The soldiers guarding the tomb were terrified. They froze like stone.

The messenger spoke to the women, to Mary Magdalene and the other Mary.

Messenger of the Lord: Don’t be afraid. I know you are here keeping watch for Jesus who was crucified. But Jesus is not here. He was raised, just as He said He would be. Come over to the grave, and see for yourself. And then go straight to His disciples, and tell them He’s been raised from the dead and has gone on to Galilee. You’ll find Him there. Listen carefully to what I am telling you.

The women were both terrified and thrilled, and they quickly left the tomb and went to find the disciples and give them this outstandingly good news. But while they were on their way, they saw Jesus Himself.

Jesus (greeting the women): Rejoice.

The women fell down before Him, kissing His feet and worshiping Him.

Jesus: 10 Don’t be afraid. Go and tell My brothers to go to Galilee. Tell them I will meet them there.

11 As the women were making their way to the disciples, some of the soldiers who had been standing guard by Jesus’ tomb recovered themselves, went to the city, and told the chief priests everything that had happened—the earthquake just after dawn, the heavenly messenger, and his commission to the Marys. 12 The chief priests gathered together all the elders, an emergency conference of sorts. They needed a plan. They decided the simplest course was bribery: they would pay off the guards 13 and order them to say that the disciples had come in the middle of the night and had stolen Jesus’ corpse while they slept. 14 The chief priests promised the soldiers they would run interference with the governor so that the soldiers wouldn’t be punished for falling asleep when they were supposed to be keeping watch. 15 The guards took the bribe and spread the story around town—and indeed, you can still find people today who will tell you that Jesus did not really rise from the dead, that it was a trick, some sort of sleight of hand.

16 The eleven disciples, having spoken to the Marys, headed to Galilee, to the mountain where they were to meet Jesus. 17 When the disciples saw Jesus there, many of them fell down and worshiped, as Mary and the other Mary had done. But a few hung back. They were not sure (and who can blame them?). 18 Jesus came forward and addressed His beloved disciples.

The disciples don’t know what to think or how to act. Nothing like this has ever happened before.

Jesus: I am here speaking with all the authority of God, who has commanded Me to give you this commission: 19 Go out and make disciples in all the nations. Ceremonially wash them through baptism in the name of the triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. 20 Then disciple them. Form them in the practices and postures that I have taught you, and show them how to follow the commands I have laid down for you. And I will be with you, day after day, to the end of the age.