Joyful Noise

JOYFULNOISE –

As I write this article today, my New Testament Bible reading chapter is Matthew 28. It is such an important chapter in the Gospel message. It begins with Resurrection Morning and the narrative about Mary Magdalene and the other Mary who went to the tomb. There was a violent earthquake apparently caused by the coming of an angel of the Lord who descended from heaven. Notice that he didn’t float in and lightly touch down – there was a violent earthquake as he arrived and then he approached the tomb and rolled back the stone – then he took up his place sitting on it. He looked like lightening wrapped in white, not a gentle being with soft wings. In fact, the soldiers guarding the tomb were so shaken from fear that they fainted dead away.

Even as scary as he looked, he assured the women that they did not need to be afraid. Why? He knew that they were looking for Jesus who was crucified. The angel’s message to the two Mary’s was, “He is not here! He has been resurrected, just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay. Then go quickly and tell His disciples, He has been raised form the dead. In fact, he is going ahead of you to Galilee; you will see Him there. Listen, I have told you”

Disciples play an important role in this chapter. What is a disciple? A disciple is a follower. Jesus selected 12 special followers and He knew that one of them would betray Him. At the dawning of this day, the future of God’s message of redemption was in the hands of 11 special followers and as we see on the day of Pentecost, there were about 125 gathered in the upper room as these first followers received the gift of The Holy Spirit. At the end of this special chapter, Jesus was about to ascend back into heaven, the 11 disciples traveled to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had directed them. When they saw Him, they worshiped, but some doubted. That is so surprising, but we know that Satan is the great deceiver.

One of the lies told about Jesus’ resurrection is that the disciples simply had a group hallucination. I don’t know the story – whether this was unbelief, or simply confusion that was ultimately cleared. Whatever the story, it was there and Matthew was faithful to mention all the facts – good, bad and indifferent.

When Jesus approached these special followers, He said to them, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” So His instruction to the followers was to make followers. Go everywhere; baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit – the Trinity. Teach them to observe everything I have commanded you.

My Bible reading passage today dovetails nicely with a sermon series being preached at our home church by Pastor Gregg Matte about followers.
Here are a few facts about followers:

• Disciples are followers and learners.
• Followers are to pray, give and go.
• Followers will always know better where to go and what to do, if we would take time to fast and pray.
• Followers have to trust the leaders.

• Followers become the leaders.
• Followers will encounter difficulties along the way
• Followers have to display courage
• Followers may even be directed into the path of a storm.

Many believers – followers – in Houston were impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Many believers where not, but instead of sitting back and simply being thankful for their good fortune, those not impacted by the storm looked outward to see how they could use the misery of others as a spring board to ministry by helping them clean out and demo their homes. Sometimes you get into a boat thinking you are just taking a ride across a lake, only to get caught in a raging storm. In fact, Matthew, Mark and John all record the story of the followers in the boat in the middle of the lake and about 2:00 AM, Jesus came walking by and invited Peter to get out of the boat. Not only did He put them into the storm, He asked Peter to get out of the boat. Peter did great until he took his eyes off of Jesus – immediately Peter began to sink. Followers follow, followers lead, followers trust and followers display courage. Let’s follow!

Karl Mangurm