First Presbyterian Church of Blackwood
21 E. Church Street
Blackwood, NJ 08012
Meditation Notes (Easter Sunday ~ April 09, 2023)
Rev. Dr. Mouris A. Yousef, Pastor
Psalm 16; Matthew 28:1-10
“Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me” Matthew 28:10. Why Galilee? Of all the places Jesus could have gone ~ why Galilee?
You’d think Jesus would have wanted to head straight back to Jerusalem and show those folk 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 He 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, of all the places Jesus could have gone, he chooses Galilee? As we celebrate Easter Sunday this morning, let me offer a couple reasons why Galilee.
First: Galilee is Where Jesus was Welcomed and Accepted
Galilee is where Jesus was accepted and welcomed ~ for the most part. Aside from one or two isolated incident, Jesus was loved, welcomed and accepted in Galilee.
Jesus spent most of His public ministry in Galilee. In Galilee, He spoke their language, shared their country twang, knew their customs, and was very much comfortable. At least, if Jesus could be comfortable anywhere, He could be comfortable in Galilee. He was embraced in Galilee.
The people of Galilee were less fortunate, less religious, and less educated than the people in Jerusalem, yet they were more receptive to the gospel message. Jesus performed most of His miracles in Galilee. He did most of His teaching in Galilee. Most of Christ’s disciples were from Galilee.
The lesson should be clear to all of us on this Easter morning. The good news of the risen Lord comes in abundance to the broken hearted, to the humble and lowly in spirit. The good news of the risen Lord comes to those who have simple faith, child-like faith. The good news of the risen Lord comes to those who long for it.
Second: Galilee is Where all the Story Began
Jesus wanted to see His disciples in Galilee because Galilee witnessed the beginning of Christ’s wonderful story. In Mark 1:14-15, we read, “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!” In Galilee, the gospel was first proclaimed. Then here after Christ’s resurrection, the angel said to frightened women at the tomb, “Go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.”
I believe Mark is saying to us, “Now that you’ve read the story, you know the beginning and the end, go back and read it again... this time, do so with resurrection eyes.” Now that your minds have been enlightened, go back and re-read the story with new understanding. Go back and re-visit the places where you had seen God’s power in action and let it speak to your heart in new and fresh ways. Go back and let the teaching of Christ, the teaching you’ve already heard, and let it sink deep in your heart.
One of the major elements – if not the most important element – of Mark’s gospel is the misunderstanding by Jesus’ followers of His mission and intent. According to mark, the disciples, never got it. Never. According to Mark, the only way the story of Jesus can be understood is to go back and do it all again... with and through, as I’ve said, resurrection eyes.
So that is where we are, you and I, on this Easter morning. With Jesus, we’re back in Galilee where it all started. Today we are invited to go back to Galilee; to re-read the story of Jesus; to allow it to sink deep into our hearts and minds; to think about it from start to finish with Easter eyes. What difference this is going to make in your life? And whenever we fail to grasp the depth and the width of this story, let’s try to do it again. Galilee is a good place to be. Why? Because Galilee is a place of humility, a place of child-like faith. Galilee is where the dots can be connected. The nonsense makes sense; the impossible becomes possible. Galilee is a place where Christ wants to continue the journey with us. Happy Easter, Church. Christ is risen! He is risen indeed. Alleluia! Amen.
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