1. Where is your hometown?
a. Who here can say that CDA is their hometown? Who has a hometown that’s someplace else?
i. I’ve made CDA my new hometown because I love it here. I love its scenery, its people, its history, and I really
like where it seems to be heading.
b. But my actual hometown is Kansas City (the Kansas side, thanks for asking).
i. It was a really good place to grow up and I have fond memories, still root for my hometown teams, but I don’t really want to go back home except maybe
ii. And KC isn’t really a
hometown you brag about because it’s exotic or interesting like New Orleans or Key West.
2. The last half of Matthew 28 is partly about going back home. Read Matthew 28:1-19.
a. Notice the name ‘Galilee’ show up a lot? That’s the disciples’ – and Jesus’- hometown.
i. More like home region – Galilee is the the northern part of modern day Israel,
lots of medium to small towns.
ii. It was pretty rural and poor at the time; a hodgepodge of different ethnic groups which didn’t make it desirable to the city folks in Jerusalem.
b. Both the angels and Jesus himself tell the disciples, through a group of women followers, to go home if they want to see the
i. Which seems strange. Why there? Why not Jerusalem? That’s where they are now. That’s where big things happen. Things don’t happen back home.
c. To get back to Galilee requires a journey. And knowing Jesus also requires a journey.
i. Being a Christian is not one moment but a lifetime of moments connected together by God. It’s always being on the move from one to the next. It’s being called by Jesus to new places, and ultimately to an eternal destination.
ii. The earliest Christians weren’t call a “church” but “The Way.” Following Jesus was a walk, a journey.
3. So then you might also notice another word cropping up a lot in these verses. RE-READ
a. It’s “Go, Go, Go, Go!” kind of like a jumpmaster sending parachutists out door of the airplane, or a drill sergeant sending soldiers up a cargo net, or shoppers on Black Friday
i. But the Greek word for “Go” implies taking a purposeful journey, from the root word for ‘passage.’
ii. Let’s take a look at each “go.” Pay attention to each one on its own but also how they fit together.
b. The 1st Go isn’t for the disciples but Jesus. The angels say that the risen Jesus is himself going ahead on the journey they are about to take.
i. He’s Jesus – he could just appear there and avoid the walk. But he doesn’t.
ii. It’s a very cool and unique feature of Christianity that God never asks you to take a step he hasn’t already taken himself.
c. The 2nd Go is repeated by the Angel and Jesus, but with a key difference. The angels tell the women to give the summons to the disciples, Jesus says “my brothers.”
i. The disciples were probably afraid of going to see Jesus because they hadn’t been very loyal or faithful lately- repeatedly misunderstanding Jesus’ mission and running in fear when he was arrested, even denying they knew him.
ii. But Jesus says that when they go to him they will be greeted not with judgement but with grace, forgiveness and restored relationship.
d. The 3rd Go is in the past tense: “Went.” It’s key that the disciples heard Jesus’ summons and they obeyed it, immediately.
i. Going to see a Messiah who had physically risen from the dead isn’t without risk. There are a lot of unknowns in a meeting like that, and you probably sense it’s going to change your life forever.
ii. But the disciples didn’t put obedience on the back burner. Jesus said “Go!” and they “Go’d”
e. The 4th and last Go is the most interesting of all because I think most people, even most Christians, think obedience should be the last “Go.” Isn’t the point of religion to obey God and in the process become a better person?
i. Don’t we come to church on Sunday morning or Easter…and maybe Christmas too to see Jesus. Once we’ve seen him, we’re done.
ii. But Jesus says there’s more. Much more. To go on his journey is to circle back, meet people as they start their own journey, to walk with them and help them.
iii. Just like he did. The end of his journey was a triumph of life over death, heaven over hell, salvation over destruction, hope over hopeless. But he wasn’t done yet.
iv. He went back home to start the disciples on their journey.
4. Following Christ, being a disciple, is to go on a journey
a. We are never alone or without guidance. This is a trip Jesus has taken himself, and he is going with you now.
b. The journey is indeed scary and risky but you can leave behind the baggage of guilt, shame or regret; and you need not fear any judgement when you arrive.
c. And the journey isn’t just to
heaven, but into Jesus’ own mission. It is going back home and showing others the way.
5. Philippe Petit was a famous tightrope walker recently portrayed in move “The Walk.”
a. He wrote, “I started putting a wire up in secret and performing without
permission. Notre Dame, the
Bridge, the World Trade Center. And I developed a certitude, a faith that convinced me that I will get safely to the other side. If not, I will never do that first step.”
b. Easter is about following Jesus out of a tomb of fear and taking the first step into new life.