Fear Not: Be Glad!

Easter 1 Thursday

Matthew 28:7-10

“[The angel said to the women:] “And go quickly and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead.” So they left the tomb quickly in fear and great joy and ran to proclaim it to his disciples. And as they went to proclaim it to his disciples, look, Jesus met them and said: “Greetings!” And they came to him and grasped his feet and fell prostrate before him. Then Jesus said to them: “Fear not! Go and tell my disciples to go to Galilee. There they will see me.””

The fact that the angel tells the women to go quickly and proclaim to his disciples that Christ is risen from the dead is also a certain declaration that the disciples are to rejoice and receive the resurrection. But now consider who the disciples are. Is it not true that they are poor sinners who did not stay with the lord and who shamefully abandoned the Lord in his greatest need? And Peter even denied him. Moreover, they are now gathered together, not letting themselves be seen by the Jews. There is no thought that Christ should live again and first begin to establish his kingdom. And even when the women come and indicate that they saw the Lord; when Simon Peter and the Emmaus disciples come as well, no one wants to believe it; they consider it to be a fairy tales. In fact, even when the Lord himself comes and shows them his hands and feet, allows himself to be touched, they still do not want to accept it that it is true, thinking that he is a ghost. Now, the fact that it is so important to the angel that the resurrection of Christ is to be proclaimed to the disciples, although they were drowning in unbelief and lay in bad conscience, is a sure indication that the Lord Christ rose to comfort those poor people of weak faith and even those who are complete unbelievers, so that they should enjoy him and seek and find help and protection with him. Therefore, as we find ourselves in these types of weakness, sin, and unbelief, let us not despair on that account or think that Christ does not want us. For here we see that the angels come from heaven to comfort such poor, weak, miserable sinners and that they must relay through the women that the disciples may find out that Christ is risen so that they should draw comfort and joy from it. For where the resurrection of Christ is, there comfort, joy, and a good conscience must be as well, because you find no death, sin, or God’s wrath in such image. This, then, is the dear angels’ sermon concerning the resurrection of Christ. They come down from heaven so that the poor, frightened consciences should become aware of the resurrection, rejoice in it, and draw comfort from it. Such preaching and testimony should be enough for us. But here Christ himself comes to the women and preaches to them just as the angel did, greets them in the kindest way, and tells them also that they should not be afraid. By doing so, he wants to teach us all how we should rightly use his resurrection by driving out all fear, by being joyful, and glad. For there is nothing in the whole world that could frighten a Christian who has Christ as Lord. Sin will not do it because we know that Christ paid for it. Death will not do it either, because Christ overcome it. He tore hell into pieces, bound and captured the devil. Now, if the world in its usual ways is hostile to Christians and heaps on them all sorts of torture, what are we to do? All this is only a temporal suffering against which we know that we are to enjoy the resurrection of Christ for eternal life. This is why this sermon of the angel, and then also that of our Lord Christ, always go forth and remains among the Christians: Fear not. Be glad. Thank and praise God. For Christ is risen and is no longer here.


St. Louis ed., 13.1:521-522.

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