Glorious New Life, Fear, and a Message to Be Told

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Reading the Bible with the Ouldlets tonight, I spotted something in Luke’s gospel that I’ve never noticed before. We’ve been looking at the events of the Passion and finally arrived at resurrection morning…

Luke 24:1    On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb.  2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb,  3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them.  5 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?…”

As I read the words aloud it suddenly occurred to me that here, towards the very end of Luke’s account of Jesus, was a mirror of an encounter at the very beginning…

Luke 2:8    And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” 

At these two important moments we have a similar encounter. Angels with brilliant appearance, an initial response of fear from those meeting the angel, and finally a message that confirms that all is well and points towards Jesus’ lordship.

The first comes at the beginning of Jesus’ human life, the second as that human life is renewed and raised for eternity. The response in both cases is the same; they spread the word of what they have heard (Luke 2:17, 24:9) and those who hear are amazed.

The truth about Jesus is often surprising and even may induce fear. But there is a glorious explanation to be provided and the response is always to tell others.

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