How to Worship on Resurrection Sunday: A Reflection on Easter
Jonathan Welch | April 09, 2023
Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men.
But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.”
So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”
— Matthew 28:1-10 ESV
Mary and Mary come to the tomb seeking the person of Jesus (28:5), but they encounter a revelation, an invitation, and a charge. First, the angel reveals to them, “He is not here, for he has risen” (28:6). Imagine for just a moment what it would feel like to take in those miraculous words for the first time. Jesus is alive. Second, the angel grants an invitation, “Come, see the place where he lay” (28:6). Not only do they hear the glorious announcement with their ears, but they get to examine the tomb with their eyes and with their hands. Intrigue surely becomes delight as their investigation confirms the unfathomable declaration — there is no body here. The tomb is indeed empty. They now have experienced this reality for themselves. Third, the women are given a charge to “go quickly and tell” others (28:7). And they go to carry the wonderful message that the resurrected Christ will soon reveal himself to his followers (28:7).
As we consider the narrative, let us not overlook how Jesus’s followers respond. Mary and Mary depart quickly, “with fear and great joy,” to rejoice with others (28:8). Two groups of disciples respond with worship (28:9, 17)! The very word used for worship connotes a holistic integration of words, emotions, and activity. In other words, this is not a stand-passively-and-softly-mumble-a-praise-chorus type of worship. These disciples eagerly take “hold of his feet” and fall before him in a physical posture of reverence and awe (28:9).
In other words, this is not a stand-passively-and-softly-mumble-a-praise-chorus type of worship.
In this way, Matthew 28 teaches us how to worship on Resurrection Sunday — through our actions, with our words, and in our hearts. Worship God today with your physical posture and your actions. Consider kneeling on the ground, lying face-down before the Lord, or raising your hands in worship. Next, move to your words of worship. Declare out loud that Jesus our Lord has risen. How many different words and phrases can you use to offer God words of adoration and praise? Finally, examine the attitude of your heart. Ask the Lord to move you with reverence and joy that Jesus has triumphed over the grave.
Matthew 28 teaches us how to worship on Resurrection Sunday — through our actions, with our words, and in our hearts.
On this Easter Sunday, Jesus is alive and ready for us to meet with him. May we make the most of every opportunity today to joyfully offer God the glory that he deserves — through our actions, with our words, and in our hearts. For Jesus our Lord has risen!