Lectionary Year A
March 31, 2002
Matthew 28:1-10

Step V: Distillation

A. Summary of Salient Features

(JFC) The theological focal point of this story is the Risen Christ who meets and greets the women in verse 9 and tries to dispel their fears in the tenth verse where He also gives them a charge and a promise. The lesser significant figures in the cast include the women, the angel, the guards, perhaps in that order of importance, the former more important to the narrative's points than the latter and lesser ones.

B. Smoother Translation

(JFC) 1 But late in the Sabbath day, when the new day was dawning Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to the tomb. 2 And behold a great earthquake roared; and an angel of the Lord came/descended from heaven and was approaching them and having rolled away the stone, was sitting on it. 3 Now his appearance was like lightening and his clothing like white/shining snow. 4 But because of the women's (and/or the guards'?) fear, they shook/trembled and became like dead persons. 5 But replied the angel and said to the women; "Fear not, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified; 6 He is not here, for He is raised according as He said; come see the place where He has lain. 7 Then quickly go tell the disciples of His that He was raised, and note well that He goes before you to Galilee, there you will see Him; so, I have told you."
8 And they went away quickly from the tomb with (still some) fear and great gladness and they ran to tell His disciples. 9 And behold Jesus met them (on the way) saying, "Greetings." But they approaching took hold of His feet and fell down to worship Him. 10 Then says to them Jesus; "Be not afraid; rather go tell my disciples in order that they should go to Galilee and there they shall see me."

C. Hermeneutical Bridge

(JFC) Schweizer says, "Jesus' salutation is in the common Greek form. . . ." If that designation in his vernacular means "informal" and/or "personal", it seems to set a tone for Jesus' Resurrected Persona. He appears in this story to be expressing a personally oriented personality. It's sort of like when we started e-mailing through cyberspace, some of the skeptics said such communication would become too impersonal. For me quite the opposite has happened. I can be more personal via the Internet than I might be even face-to-face. Jesus was being personal, if not, intimate, warm and even friendly in the scenes Matthew 28:1-10 depict.

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