(Matthew 28:1-10) Pastor Carol Weist
There are Christmas greetings and Easter greetings and form letter greetings.
Now Christmas greetings in the form of form letters, one letter to all with an extra note here or there, there are those who don’t like them and prefer totally personalized notes. I can understand that. As for myself, it is simply good to get any sort of Christmas greeting from folks, whether it be a phone call, an in-person “Merry Christmas,” a card with a signature, a handwritten note or letter, and yes, even a machine printed letter updating friends and family on the events of the last year. It is good to hear from folks.
Now there are other types of form letters mailed or emailed to thousands that start with “Greetings!” which may raise questions. What are they trying to sell? What do they want money for?
Then there is the case of Judas at the Garden of Gethsemane coming up to Jesus and saying, “Greetings, Rabbi. Greetings, Teacher.” (Matthew 26:49) That was a greeting of betrayal. That is how Judas identified Jesus in the dark of evening to the soldiers ordered to arrest him.
Greetings can be phony. After Jesus’ arrest and trial, before his crucifixion, the soldiers mock Jesus, saying, “Greetings, King of the Jews. Hail, King of the Jews.” They don’t regard him as their king. They dress him as a king with a robe and a crown of thorns and spit on him. (Matthew 27:29)
The word for greetings is the same as the word for rejoice, as in Matthew 5:12 at the end of the beatitudes at the opening of the Sermon on the Mount: “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Those are words that Jesus taught.
“Greetings, teacher. Rejoice, Rabbi.”- the words Judas betrayed Jesus with.
“Greetings, king. Rejoice, king, Hail, king of the Jews.”- the words the soldiers mocked Jesus with.
“Greetings, women. Rejoice, women,” the life-giving word the risen Jesus gives the women leaving the empty tomb. (Matthew 28:9) Continue reading