the other commissions

The last few sentences of the book of Matthew are known as “The Great Commission.” We’ll look at those this week. However, right before that are two other commissions, two  stories of people being sent.

In the first, an angel and then Jesus send two women with a message to the disciples. It’s a reminder kind of commission. “Tell them to meet me in Galilee.”

This is the third time this meeting is mentioned in Matthew. On the Thursday night before this Sunday morning conversation, Jesus had said, “when I’m risen, I’ll meet you in Galilee.” The angel said it too.

A lot happened that weekend. Everything changed in how people and God relate. Jesus had suffered.

It would have been possible, the disciples being human, for them to say, “But after all that, I thought the plan would have changed. We survived. Wasn’t that the test?”

No matter how big the events in between, Jesus will do what he says he will do and we need to meet him where he said we should meet him. No matter what, he’ll be there. If death doesn’t stop him, what will?

But I said there were two other commissions.

There were guards at the tomb. They went through an earthquake and saw an angel and knew that the tomb had been opened. They reported to the religious leaders who said, “go and tell people that the body was stolen.” They were paid well for this lie. They spread the news.

For money or fear, some people will say what they know isn’t true. It was more lucrative than the truth, this report. And these soldiers believed more in dollars than some strange experience.

Two audiences, two specific commissions. One was to report, the other was to lie. Only one was hired.