First Presbyterian Church of Blackwood
21 E. Church Street
Blackwood, NJ 08012
Meditation Notes (Easter Sunday 9:00 a.m. ~ 04.04.2021)
Rev. Dr. Mouris Yousef, Pastor
“Meet Me in Galilee!”
According to Matthew’s account, after the women left the empty tomb on that first Easter Sunday, Matthew says, “suddenly, Jesus met them, and He said to them, “Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
Galilee. Why Galilee? Of all the places Jesus could have gone ~ why Galilee? I mean, He is the Risen Christ after all. He could go anywhere He wanted. In fact, John tells us on the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them. If he had such control over His body that He could simply show up even when the doors are locked, don’t you think Jesus could go anywhere? Why Galilee?
You would think Jesus would have wanted to head straight back to Jerusalem and show those folks over there a thing or two. Can’t you just see it? Jesus walks straight to the home of the high priest, knocks on the front door and says, “Hello, Caiaphas, want to try again?” Don’t you think Jesus might want to have another meeting with Pilate? “Hey Gov, now do you want to discuss the subject of truth?” That’s what Jesus could have done. That’s what we would have done, isn’t it? Our script would have been completely different.
Why Galilee? In my Easter Meditation for this service, I will very briefly offer two reason why Jesus chose Galilee.
First: Jesus was Welcomed and well Received in Galilee
For the most part, Jesus was welcomed, and His message was well received in Galilee more than anywhere else. Except for a very few incidents, the people of Galilee loved Rabbi Yahshua. They loved Jesus of Nazareth. They followed Him. They listened to His teaching. They saw the love of Jesus transforming their lives and giving them new hope. In Jerusalem, however, Jesus faced too much opposition and rejection from both religious and political leaders.
In Galilee, He spoke their language, shared their country twang, knew their customs, and was comfortable. At least, if Jesus could be comfortable anywhere, He could be comfortable in Galilee. Friends, the lesson is simple: it’s when you and I make a room for Christ in our lives that the glorious news of His resurrection, this new life, encounters us.
Second: It all Started in Galilee
It all started in Galilee. I like how the gospel of Mark introduces the Jesus story. Mark 1:1&14-15, “The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God. After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”
Jesus Himself was from Nazareth in Galilee. All His disciples were Galileans. Galilee witnessed the birth of Christ’s ministry. No wonder that Jesus wanted to wrap up His ministry also in Galilee. “Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” Why is this important to us?
I think it’s extremely important. Basically, Jesus was saying to the disciples now you’ve read the story, go back and re-read it again... this time, do so with resurrection eyes. When you visit those places where Jesus fed the multitudes, healed the leper, brought the dead back to life, see it all, sense it all, feel it all through resurrection eyes. Jesus wanted the disciples to have a deeper understanding of what it means to be kingdom people. Galilee brings a sense of recognition and understanding. Jesus will be waiting for them in Galilee. Galilee will bring understanding. Galilee will offer new life.
The only way the story of Jesus can be told is by going back and do it all over again, this time through resurrection eyes. So here we are again, on Easter morning, back with Jesus in Galilee where it all started.
In other words, pretend as if this were the very first day of your journey with Christ. You’ve just affirmed Him as Lord and Savior over your life, your feet are in the blocks, and the starter’s gun is about to go off. You’re ready to run the race of faith and follow after your Risen Lord. Now, what are you going to do? What kind of life you will be living? It is an invitation to see everything in life through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
If you do that – even if you will try to do it – you will find yourself in Galilee. Galilee is a good place to be. Why? Because Jesus is there. The Risen Christ meets us there and will help us to see our world through Easter. It’s an invitation to go back to the roots of our faith. It’s an invitation to go back to re-read the story of Jesus of Nazareth and see what it means for us today. The Lord is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia! Amen.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.