The Sun Rose on a New Day Matthew 24:1-8
The former tax collector wrote, “After the Sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning.” The words come from the pen of the Apostle Matthew. I wonder if his mind wondered as the Holy Spirit moved his heart and mind to write the Gospel that bears his name? I wonder if he went back to another first day. One day Jesus came by his taxing station and asked him to follow. Later Jesus would attend a feast that Matthew held in Jesus’ honor. At that meal he would listen as Jesus taught about how those who are sick need a doctor and that Jesus had come to call the sinner to repentance. That was a first day for Matthew; it was his first day as a disciple, his last day as a tax collector. Matthew knew the joy and hope that came on that first day in his life. He met Jesus, heard His words and best of all believed those words.
“After the Sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning.” The sun rose on a new day. The day of Jesus’ resurrection from the grave was the day that sun rose and all became new. What a three-day journey it had been. From the Upper Room to the home of Caiaphas to the courtroom of Pontius Pilate was the path of Jesus’ journey. From a joke of a trial to an agonizing death to a borrowed tomb mark the events of the journey. A day, a night, another day, another night then the first day of the week dawned. The world changed forever that morning. There’s no doubt about that. Like Matthew new day, this world has never been the same since the first day of that week dawned; the day of Jesus’ resurrection.
But what are we to do with that new day? The gospels all have an answer to that question. Take a moment and turn to the Matthew’s Gospel. In Matthew 27, we are given several indicators of the affect that that dawn should mean for us and what we should be motivated to do because that resurrection morning.
The first indicator is found verse six, “Come and see the place where He lay.” What are people called to do in light of that morning? We are called to come and see. Come to the garden tomb and see where the dead body of Christ was laid. Come and see all that He did for us that took Him to that borrowed cave-tomb. This is a call to look at God. It is a mandate given to humanity to take notice of the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ. Most will ignore the call; some will shrug at the empty tomb. But to those who come and really see, they two will understand the need for the death and the celebration of the empty grave.
But the come and see is part of a cause and effect. What is the effect of the coming and seeing? The answer to this question is found in verse seven, “Then go quickly and tell His disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead.’” For those who have seen the empty tomb, they are called to go and tell others. Tell them of the Savior who conquered death as He said He would. Tell them what that means for the world, what it means for them. And note, there is urgency about the going. “Go quickly,” the angel said to the ladies that morning. Go quickly because the story is so wonderful and exciting. Go quickly for the need to hear is so vital. Go quickly for the command is from God and the only fitting response is to not delay.
So we learn from that dawning of the first day that we are invited to see and commanded to go and tell. The dawning of that brought more than a typical first day of a new week, it brought new life, new hope, a new start.
This call to come and see and go and tell must result in instant obedience. This is seen in the response of those who came to the tomb as the sun was rising on the first day of the week, “So, departing quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, they ran to tell His disciples the news.” (v.8) Immediately the ladies left the place of death to tell their friend that new life. What a picture. God said, go so they went and the first people God told them to tell were their closest friends. How natural that must have been for Mary Magdalene and the other Mary who accompanied her to the tomb that Sunday morning. They went to the people who they loved best and needed it the most. These friends were in deep sorrow, fear and distress. They needed the news that would bring joy, peace and drive away fear. Are our friends any different? Do not their sorrow, fear and distress desperately need to hear the message just as those did on that dawn of the first day? What a great command we have been given, what a wonderful privilege we have been afforded.
A great command and a wonderful privilege will turn into a total wasted opportunity and incomprehensible act of disobedience. How? The answer to this final question comes with the understanding that to all who came and saw but did not go and tell squandered the chance to joyfully serve the Lord and bring the chance for a radical change in the lives of those around us. Especially in the lives of those who mean the most to us. And this should be an incomprehensible act of disobedience. How can we not go quickly with the message of the One who died of us so to offer to all the chance of knowing what it is to have a first day dawn.
Next Week: From Walking to Recognizing to Running Luke 24:13-36