Monday Reverb – 10April2023


The theme for this week is celebration of restoration.

The selected passages are …  Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24 • Jeremiah 31:1-6 • Acts 10:34-43 • Matthew 28:1-10   

  • The call to worship Psalm invites us into thanksgiving to celebrate the Lord’s victory over the enemy and the restoration of the rejected.
  • The Old Testament reading from Jeremiah anticipates God’s work of restoration for Israel, delivering her from her many troubles and restoring her to a life of rest and rejoicing.
  • The reading from Acts shares Peter’s words that celebrate the redemption Jesus has brought through his resurrection.
  • The Gospel reading from Matthew retells the account of the first Easter with visits to the empty tomb.



  • Title:  Visiting Our Tombs
  • Presenter:  Greg Williams, GCI President
  • Featured Passage:  Psalm 118:14-17


1.  Why do you think it was important for the Gospel writers to include the visit to the tomb in the story of Jesus’ resurrection?

2.  In what ways do we visit tombs in our lives?

3.  How does knowing Jesus is raised from the dead change how we visit our tombs?



Jesus Christ Is Risen

Matthew 28:1-4, 5-10 (NRSV)

After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men.   

But the angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, “He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.” This is my message for you.’ So they left the tomb quickly, with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples.  Suddenly Jesus met them and said, ‘Greetings!’ And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshipped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.’  


On this day of Easter, we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus our Lord by looking at Matthew’s account of the resurrection.  Matthew’s version makes it clear he wanted to establish the truth that Jesus Christ is risen.  The resurrection is not a myth, but a fact of all facts.  The reality of all things is established forevermore because of what happened on this particular Sunday morning.  When we embrace this truth, we will come to see all things in a whole new light.

Let’s begin this unbelievable true story.


After the Sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. (Matthew 28:1 NRSV)

This story begins with newness.  It is after the Sabbath, the very beginning of a new week.  The dawning light begins to show us that God has done something brand new in the Resurrection of the Lord.  And we are introduced to two ladies, both named Mary, who will help us see the truth of what has happened.  Matthew leaves out one of the ladies that appear in John’s account to set up a parallel.  He is going to have the two Marys stand in juxtaposition to two guards, each set representing a response to Jesus and the truth of the gospel.  Consider this; the two ladies and the two guards in the story appear at Jesus’ tomb.  Both see an angel.  Both experience fear.  Both leave the tomb to inform others of what just happened.  And both are told what to say.  But note the contrast; the women tell the truth while the guards are told to lie.  With that Matthew has put before us the question of who are we going to believe?  Do we believe the two ladies who have nothing to gain by deceiving anyone, or the two guards who were paid handsomely by those who wanted to protect their power.  We must decide!

The ladies do not know at this point that Jesus has been raised.  We are told that they are returning to “see the tomb.”  We can relate to this experience by these two ladies as we sometimes return to our various tombs that have left us grieving.  We come to revisit our resentment and anoint our anger, perfuming our pain and using the ointment of bitterness and unforgiveness in hopes of preserving what was lost.  Sometimes our tombs are thrust back upon us by no choice of our own.  In whatever way we find ourselves keeping vigil of past tombs we find that God has a message for us.  And it’s a message that is earth shattering.  Take note of how the message is set up.

And suddenly there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning and his clothing white as snow. For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. (Matthew 28:2-4 NRSV)

Matthew has included some details here that prepare us to sit up and listen.  The message that the angel is going to deliver comes with some extraordinary build up.  First, there is “a great earthquake” that occurs because an angel of the Lord is “descending from heaven.”  Whatever is about to be shared with these two women is introduced as a message that will shake up the world.  Maybe we have not personally experienced being in a literal earthquake, but I’m sure many of us have experienced times in our lives when it seemed the world was being shaken and tossed about.  We may often attribute this shake-up as being initiated from some person, group, or nation pulling strings and pushing buttons.  But another picture emerges here.  Is it not the inbreaking of the Kingdom that shakes the world to its core?   Is not God’s word the most disruptive force that invades our physical domain?

This image is repeated in other ways throughout the Bible.  Stories like Jesus casting out demons for example.  When Jesus commanded a demon to leave, the possessed individual went into convulsionsJesus’ death was accompanied by an earthquake, and Jesus’ return portrayed in the book of Revelation includes a mighty earthquake beyond compare.  The image conveys that when God breaks in, all hell breaks loose.  We should expect no less with the announcement the angel is about to deliver.

Before this angel utters a word, he dramatically sends a message by rolling back the large stone of the tomb and sitting on it.  In addition, his appearance was blinding. This is what I call making an entrance.  It certainly got the attention of the two guards as they “shook and became like dead men” out of fear.  That’s an interesting twist on the scene.  The two guards who end up lying about Jesus being raised to life, are pictured as becoming dead.  Another contrast!  The message that comes to us about Jesus is a message of lifeTo reject it is to reject life itself.

Now the angel is ready to speak.  But his words are directed to the women.  Dead men have no ears to hear.  May we have our ears open to hear the message of the angel today.

But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified.  He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.’  This is my message for you.” (Matthew 28:5-7 NRSV)

What he says to them, and to us today, is not a message of condemnation as we return to keep vigil over the tombs of our losses.  Rather he speaks to their truest center.  He says, “I know that you are looking for Jesus.”  Even in our vigil keeping, our resentment and anger, deep down we are searching for JesusWe are looking for life, the life we were made for.  All our pain, suffering, and loss speaks to our souls that something is out of place.  We know at some level we are not made for death.  We are looking for life, which can only fully be found in Jesus.

But Jesus, “who was crucified,” is not to be found in tombs.  The angel tells the ladies that “he is not here, for he has been raised.”  Then the angel invites the ladies to observe the tomb so they can see that Jesus is not there.

He didn’t roll that stone away for nothing.  It was an invitation to explore the unbelievable.  “Come, see the place where he lay,” the angel says.  That’s past tense.  As we find ourselves keeping vigil over our tombs, may we receive such a message that reminds us that Jesus was not contained by death, and our losses are restored in himWhen we receive this message, we can hear the angel’s command to “go quickly and tell his disciples.”  Knowing our life is restored in Jesus empowers us to “go quickly” from our tombs of death.  Our feet are enlivened with hope.

As we are on our way, we take upon our lips the message given to us, “He has been raised from the dead.”  That’s the message the angel gives us to share.

In addition, the angel tells the ladies to let the disciples know that Jesus “is going ahead of you to Galilee” where they will see him.  When our brothers and sisters are struggling to move forward, we can remember what the angel has said: “Jesus is going ahead of you.”  We do not move into the future alone and we do not need to fear what awaits us because we know Jesus is already there.  What comfort we can give one another in our journey of faith to know that Jesus has gone ahead of us!

So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers and sisters to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” (Matthew 28:8-10 NRSV)

The ladies represent the response of receiving the Gospel and living according to it.  They “quicklyrun to carry out the mission they were given.  Notice that as soon as the ladies respond in obedience, they are “suddenly” met by Jesus.  Jesus interrupting their original mission can show us that he is more concerned about encountering us with himself than only having us carrying out an efficient and effective mission tripMission and ministry bring us to encounter the Good News himself as the person JesusAs we live in faith, we will have our faith renewed.  With only a simple “Greetings,” from Jesus, the ladies respond in worship.  They have been found by the one they were looking for.

In their worship of Jesus, Matthew records the detail of the ladies embracinghis feet.”  This reference is one of the reminders we are given that Jesus’ resurrection was a bodily resurrection.  It seems Matthew is consistent throughout the story to emphasize this important point.  The entire story is full of physicality.  For example, the message that comes to the ladies is first a message that is felt.  The earthquake announces the arrival of God’s messenger.  Then the message is seen.  This angel puts on a display of blazing lightning and shimmering garments.  Then the message is heard as the “angel spoke to the women.”  Matthew wants us to understand that Jesus is not resurrected as some ghost that can be spiritualized awayHe comes back as resurrected flesh and blood.  This imparts great dignity to being human with all its physicality.  We do not treat our “humanness” as something that should be discarded in favor of something “more.”  God’s creation of us, and his ultimate destiny for us, is to be fully human, which is given to us in his Son Jesus Christ.

Our story concludes with Jesus himself telling the ladies, and us, to go share the message with the other disciples.  Only, he says, “Go and tell my brothers and sisters.”   As we are encountered by Jesus, we will see all our relationships in terms of brothers and sisters, as Jesus has made us all adopted children of the Father.  This is a message that we first receive, and then in response, go out and share with the whole world.

I hope this Easter Season will lift you up to experience more fully the new life the Father has for us in his Son JesusMay we leave our empty tombs and meet Jesus as we share the message, “He has been raised from the dead.”



1.  In what ways are the two ladies in the story more reliable witnesses than the two guards?  


2.  What is indicated by an earthquake accompanying the message of the angel of Jesus’ resurrection?  


3.  What tombs do we sometimes visit in our attempts of “looking for Jesus?”   


.  What did you make of the angel’s instructions to let the disciples know that Jesus “is going ahead of you to Galilee” where they will see him?   


5.  How can knowing that Jesus “goes ahead of us” be encouraging?  


6.  What details in the passage indicate that Jesus’ resurrection was bodily?  


7.  Why do you think the angel refers to the other disciples as “brothers and sisters”?  




  • Did Jesus Forget About The Only Sign of His Messiahship? 
  • What about the Three Days and The Three Nights? 


1.  It’s what I now believe … I should be able to explain why I believe it. 
2.  It’s what the denomination I’m a member of (GCI) seems to believe … 
3.  I’m thinking of new members … I want to be able to explain why GCI believes what it believes. 



1.  What WCG used to believe and teach … which is NOT what GCI now believes and teaches. 

2.  I think there are some/many in GCJ who still believe what WCG used to believe.  

3.  For those who came in late … let’s get an idea of what WCG used to teach … 




1.  According to that timeline … Jesus rose on Saturday evening … but, according to Mark 16:9, He rose on the first day of the week (Sunday).  

Mark 16:9 (NKJV)  Now when He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons.

2.  The presenter believes the sign of Jesus’s messiahship is the “three days and three nights” … but, according to Romans 1:4, the proof of Jesus’ messiahship was the resurrection.  



To get an idea of what some in favour of what some who hold another view of the “three days and three nights approach” might say … an article by Greg Albrecht, on the Plain Truth Ministries website ( … 03/03/2021 ) … 


WHAT ABOUT 3 DAYS AND 3 NIGHTS?by Greg Albrecht     


Q:  What is your view on Jesus’ statement that he would be in the grave three days and three nights?  I believe Jesus.  I do not believe that it was parts of days and nights like some say.  

A:  I believe Jesus as well.  If you examine the gospels, you will find one verse that mentions “three days and three nights” (Matthew 12:40)  and another 20 verses that speak of his resurrection as being on “the third day” or “in three days.”  Since we both believe Jesus, should we seek to better understand one verse in the light of 20, or 20 verses in the light of one?  

Today, the day I am writing this, is Friday.  Three days from now will be Sunday.  That’s the normal way we communicate.  That’s also the language used by the vast majority of passages in the Bible that speak about Jesus’ death and resurrection. 

What about this passage to which you refer to in Matthew 12:40?  It says that Jesus will be in the heart of the earth three days and nights, as Jonah was in the whale three days and nights. So, is this a statement by Jesus that his body would be dead the precise number of hours that Jonah was in the belly of the great fish, and that Jesus would experience a precise, exact kind of predicament that Jonah did? Or, is it a statement that what Jonah suffered was similar to what Jesus suffered?

If we disregard all other passages when Jesus spoke of his death, burial and resurrection and try to force this one statement in Matthew 12:40 to be a literal 72 hours, (as an exact period of time that the dead body of Jesus was in the tomb), then we will have to insist that Jonah was also dead for 72 hours while in the belly of the whale. However, according to the book of Jonah, that was not the case. Jonah did not die while in the great fish. He was trapped — he was in the process of death — he was being digested — but he never died.  He prayed to God from the belly of the great fish, an activity any of us would favor in such a circumstance.  

So was Jesus’ body either dead (or not really dead if we compare it literally to Jonah) for this same length of time during which Jonah was surrounded by death, being digested, “as good as dead”?  No, that’s not what Jesus meant.  If it were, he would not have compared himself to Jonah.  

Matthew 12:40 also says that Jesus was in the “heart of the earth.” Another problem.  The body of Jesus was never, literally, in a grave “six feet under” as we say, covered with earth.  His body was not in the earth at all.  Six feet under is a lot closer to the heart of the earth, by about six feet, than the tomb in which Jesus was buried.  His tomb was on the side of a hill — carved out — not at all six feet under.  So once again this verse is not speaking literally — not of a precise number of hours and not of a precise method or location of burial.  

If we follow your logic we are going to have to believe that this one verse, Matthew 12:40, is not only true about the precise length of time that Jesus was in the tomb, but it is also a true statement that his body was buried in the ground.  Consequently, if that verse is true, all others that speak of Jesus’ burial place are wrong.  Following your thoughts, we are going to have to believe that there was a grave — not only six feet deep, but even deeper — much deeper to qualify as the “heart of the earth.”  If we admit that “heart of the earth” was not meant literally, then we must also admit neither were “three days and three nights” meant literally in terms of the time Jesus’ body was in the heart of the earth.  

If “heart of the earth” does not mean “six feet under,” what does it mean? The Bible is written with Jerusalem always being at the center — the heart of the earth. Jesus was betrayed, falsely accused and tried by the Jewish Sanhedrin and tortured — the night before he was crucified.  It all happened in Jerusalem, in the “heart” of the earth, just as the prophets said it would.  He was, like Jonah, in a place of no escape, being tortured, tormented and falsely tried.   

The sign that Jesus is our Messiah is not a specific length of time that he was in his tomb.  Neither the Jewish religious leaders nor the Roman soldiers were poised with stop watches outside the tomb, knowing that when the 72nd hour had elapsed he would either be our Messiah and Savior, or he would not.  If that was what was commonly understood, they would have been marking time in such a way to disprove his claim of an exact 72 hours, but they did not.  

They did, of course, post guards outside the tomb to prevent his disciples from stealing the body and claiming that Jesus was resurrected, just as he said he would be.  They — Jewish religious leaders, Roman military and political government, as well as Jesus’ disciples were well aware that Jesus said he would be resurrected on the third day.  They were prepared to stop it.  However, we read nothing about them taking his comment about “72 hours in the heart of the earth” literally.  

The length of time that the body of Jesus was in the tomb is not the object of celebrating his resurrection. That he was raised is the sign that he was and is Messiah — not what one might regard as the accurate computation of how long his body remained in the tomb.  

The sign that Jesus is our Messiah is not some clock-watching mathematical puzzle.  The sign is that his tomb is not occupied. He is risen.  No one else has ever been resurrected, with their body glorified and made immortal. That’s the sign — not some mathematical calculation.  


Some additional thoughts …   

1.   Search results on BibleGateway … for “three days and three nights” and “the third day”

2.   Luke 24:20-23  Which day would the two disciples on the road to Emmaus have been referring to? … Luke 24:1,13  

3.   Esther 4:16-5:2  When did Esther appear before the king … after “3 days, night and day” OR “on the third day”?   

4.   Was Jesus raised on the “third day” or the “fourth day”?  






  1. From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

  2. They will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised to life.” And the disciples were filled with grief.

  3. and will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!”

  4. So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.”

  5. And he said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”

  6. they will flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.”

  7. ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ”

  8. but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place.

  9. He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day,





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