Welcome to Thursday’s podcast. I am actually writing this on Monday 10th December. There are many words that could be used to describe this day: monumental, confusing, unprecedented, chaotic. The Brexit vote has been cancelled, and by the time you listen to this there may have been a vote of no-confidence in our Prime Minister. As I drove my daughter home from school today, we were listening to Theresa May deliver her speech to the House of Commons. We parked up outside the house, and sat listening in the car for a few minutes, before we went inside. As we walked to our front door, Faith asked me “What’s going to happen now?” I didn’t know what to say to her. And so this podcast is a letter to my 10 year old daughter, reflecting on Matthew 28 verse 6.
Today we sat in the car listening to people debating in the House of Commons. You asked me, “What’s going to happen now?”
I didn’t know what to say.
Later that evening I was thinking about my podcast that I am writing for work, and I realised that this is what I would say to you……..
You are growing up at a time when it is hard to trust politicians. You ask me why people disagree so much about things, and yet everyone says that they are telling the truth. You even talk about fake news!
When Jesus died, the chief priests and Pharisees were also worried about fake news. In Matthew 27, they asked Pilate to seal the stone and place guards outside the tomb, because they thought Jesus was a liar when he said that he would rise again after 3 days. They also thought that the disciples would try and steal his body and make a fake news story that Jesus had actually risen.
However, on the third day, when Jesus friends went to the tomb, they were met by an angel, who said to them, “He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.”
I want you to remember those words because they show us that Jesus is Truth.
When Jesus rose again, it proved that he was God, because only God would have the power to do that, to break the normal laws of nature or the universe, and come back to life after he had died. Jesus had always said that the resurrection would be the true sign that he was he who said he was. When we read the story of Jesus, we see that he predicted his death and resurrection several times. That is why the angel says, “He is risen, just as he said.”
So, when the world seems confusing, when you are not sure what to think, or you feel that you can’t trust the things that you hear or read – remember that Jesus is the Truth, and that he is God, just as he said.
Once you know that Jesus is the Truth, then it means that there are a whole lot of other things that a true as well…….
You love reading. You always have your head in a book. In your life, you are going to read lots of stories – mystery stories, adventure stories and fairy stories, but those words – “He is risen, just as he said” – remind us that the story of God that we read in the Bible, is a true story.
That means that the things that are written in the Bible about you are true…..
I know that you are already asking questions about what it means to be beautiful, your image and what you look like. As you grow up, I want you to know that what social media tells you about who you are or what you look like is not the truth.
God is the author of your story, not a blogger, a YouTuber or an Instagrammer.
Psalm 139 says that you are fearfully and wonderfully made by God. Jeremiah 29 says that God knows the plans that he has for you. And there are so many, many Bible verses that tell you that you are a child of God.
These verses; and hundreds more, are the truth about you – just as he said.
I know that you have worries about the future, about leaving home, having a job, raising a family. Grown-ups feel like that too – we worry about money, about our kids, about Brexit. We feel like we’re not good enough, clever enough, or just don’t have enough.
The Devil likes it when we feel like this, because it means that we are focusing on the lies he is telling, rather than the truth that we find in Jesus. In Matthew 28, the chief priests don’t want people to know or believe the truth about Jesus either…..so they tell the guards to go and tell lies that the disciples had stolen Jesus’ body. They did it because they were worried about what might happen next.
I can’t answer all your questions about what is going to happen next, but I know that when we have worries like this, the most important thing to do is focus on the truth that Jesus shows and teaches us, not the lies that the Devil wants us to believe.
Jesus said, “Fill your life with God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”
My prayer is that you learn to live like this – just as he said.
Through his resurrection Jesus proved that he was God. This means that what we read in the Bible is true, that what God says about you is true, and that the things that Jesus taught us are true.
As you become a young woman, always look for Jesus, just like those women did in the Bible, and remember the words that the angel spoke to them, “He is risen, just as he said.” This is a truth to build your life on.
Lots of love,
Lord Jesus, thank-you that in a world of confusion and uncertainty; you are the truth. When we have worries and fears; help us to trust in you. Amen.
READING: Matthew 28:1-15
After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: “He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.” Now I have told you.’
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 worshipped him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.’
While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, ‘You are to say, “His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.” If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.’ So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.