Matthew 28:8-10 (NIV) So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
This is the first of Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances to His followers – the first of many. The women, prepared for seeing Him alive again because of the angel’s announcement at the tomb, were not terrified by the sight of Him, but were filled with awe, and fell at His feet in worship.
All throughout Scripture, people, and even angels refused worship offered to them by people as completely inappropriate, redirecting people to worship God instead. But Jesus did not redirect the worship of these women. That is because worship of Jesus is actually entirely appropriate, because He is, in fact, God in the flesh. Jesus’ only response to the worship of these women was to tell them not to be afraid, and to reiterate the commission given to them by the angel: to remind the disciples to go up to Galilee for a meeting that had been arranged before Jesus had been arrested.
In all of this interaction with the women, note the swirling of intense feelings that ran through the whole event: fear, joy, and awe were intermixed, sometimes overlapping, as they often are when people are confronted with the Divine. But in it all, the emotions were overridden by the women’s devotion to Jesus, and their eager obedience to His commands.
Father, I see three things in this encounter that really stand out to me. First, the women encountered the risen Jesus as they were already on their way to the disciples in obedience to the angel’s command. We, too will tend to encounter Jesus in the midst of obeying Your commands. Second, the appropriate response to Jesus’ presence is not to pull out our demands and our prayer lists, but to bow down in awe and worship. And finally, our actions need to be continually fed by our absolute devotion to Jesus, and our complete obedience to Your commands. Help me to keep all three of these truths at the center of my life, today and every day. Amen.