THE BETTER HALF
“They hurried away from the tomb half-overjoyed, half-fearful.” –Matthew 28:8
“Jesus said to them: ‘Do not be afraid!’ ” –Matthew 28:10
When the first followers of Jesus learned that He had risen, some were half-fearful and half-overjoyed (Mt 28:8). This divided reaction still occurs today. When we first encounter the risen Jesus, we rejoice with great joy. Yet we also realize quickly that risen life brings new challenges and new responsibilities, especially in evangelization.
Satan couldn’t prevent the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, so now he is reduced to trying to stop us from spreading the good news that Jesus is alive and has conquered sin and death forever. One of the main ways Satan tries to limit the spread of the good news is to tempt Jesus’ witnesses to be afraid – afraid of evangelizing, afraid of radical lifestyle changes, afraid of stepping out in faith, afraid of change. If Satan can take hold of at least a part of us, he’s well on his way to reducing us from a half-witness to no witness at all. Therefore, Jesus immediately told His first witnesses: “Do not be afraid” (Mt 28:10). Jesus confronted fear by issuing a challenge: he sent His followers out to go and tell the good news (see Mt 28:10).
If we’re half-fearful like the women at the tomb, let’s turn to the better half, the “half-overjoyed” part (Mt 28:8). “Fix your eyes on Jesus” and the joy of His victorious resurrection (Heb 3:1). May His joy be yours, and may your joy be complete in Him (Jn 15:11).
PRAYER: Jesus, You are risen! You have conquered sin and death! Use me to announce fearlessly the good news of risen life in You.
PROMISE: “This is the Jesus God has raised up, and we are His witnesses.” –Acts 2:32
PRAISE: Praise the risen Jesus, Who calls us each by name! Alleluia!