Matthew 28: 1-10

Other New Resources

Recommended Resources

  • A Bunny Story

    Author Unknown
    Humorous joke for Easter
  • Illustrations, Quotes and Lectionary Reflections (Easter)

    by Various Authors
    Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone, Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone, Silence the pianos and with muffled drum Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come. Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead Scribbling on the sky the message 'He is Dead'. Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves, Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves. He was my North, my South, my East and West, My working week and my Sunday rest, My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song; I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong. The stars are not wanted now; put out every one, Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun, Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood; For nothing now can ever come to any good.

    and many more!!

  • Easter (A)

    by Bill Loader
  • Exegetical Notes (Matthew 28:1-10)

    by Brian Stoffregen
    (excellent exegesis)

Illustrated Resources from 2017 to 2020

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  • A New Vision

    by Jim Chern
    On ABC World News Tonight, host David Muir told this heartwarming story about Noel Stafford of Lakeland Florida. For 66 years, Noel has been "color blind." On his birthday, his children and grand children had a surprise for Noel, which his grandson Carson captured on video. As Grandpa Stafford is seated with a smile on his face, he opens his gift and is kind of perplexed as he reads the label "color for the colorblind." His family had all chipped in to purchased a pair of EnChroma glasses - an amazing new product that helps people who are color-blind to see in color. His son tries to explain that once he puts these glasses on, he will be able to see things how the majority of us sees. Noel kind of has this look of disbelief on his face, as he quickly opens the box and removes the glasses from their plastic wrapping: So.. I can put these on, and I will see things how they're supposed to be? He asks... as he puts them on... And he does, and he looks for maybe a second, and takes them off, he is so overwhelmed that he starts to cry and can't hardly talk...
  • From Death to Life

    by Delmer Chilton
    A pastor was invited to a baptism by one of his parishioners, a guard at the Central Carolina Prison in Columbia, S.C. Arriving at the prison early in the morning, he was searched, ID checked, interrogated, moved from waiting area to waiting area for more than an hour. Finally, his friend the guard came, and they walked together down long, cold corridors to the prison chapel. It was a small room, with a few rows of chairs and a platform at the front. On this day, the pulpit and piano had been pushed to the side against the wall. In the pulpit’s place, flat on the floor, there was a large wooden box. The box had been covered in blue, plastic sheeting, which fell over the sides, and into the sheeting had been poured gallons and gallons of cold water. As the small group gathered around the makeshift baptistry, at the very moment the convert stepped into the box full of water and the chaplain reached over to grab his hands, lower him into the box, and say, “I baptize thee,” the visiting pastor had a realization that took his breath away—the box was a coffin, a standard, prison-issue, pine-box coffin. The man was being baptized in a casket; he was going into, and coming up out of, the grave.
  • Lost and Found

    by Jim Eaton
    Lucille Brennan had lived a hard life, but found faith in Christ in her mid-fifties and turned her life around. As a way of making up for being such a poor parent to her own illegitimate son, Lucille became a foster parent. The director of the Department of Children’s Services considered Lucille one of their best foster parents and asked her to take one of their sadder cases. Little Jimmy, five months old, had been beaten unmercifully by his mother’s live in boyfriend whenever he cried. Jimmy had been so emotionally damaged that now he wouldn’t cry even when he was hungry or wet or cold. Everyone was afraid that the damage was permanent. Lucille determined that Jimmy needed to be held, and held a lot. So for weeks, Lucille did everything one-handed. Her other arm was busy cradling Jimmy, who remained silent as ever.
  • Tombs, Wombs and Listening for Whispers of Hope

    by Cameron Fraser
    In her short, but powerful book Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories and Wild Possibilities, activist and author Rebecca Solnit writes this: “To hope is to give yourself to the future, and that commitment to the future makes the present inhabitable. Anything could happen, and whether we act or not has everything to do with it…The future is dark, with a darkness as much of the womb as of the grave”
  • Easter Sunday (A)(2017)

    by Scott Hoezee
    One Sunday a pastor preached about Jesus’ resurrection. Monday morning, first thing, the phone rang. It was a high-powered, big city lawyer who had been in church the day before. “I need to talk to you right away,” the lawyer said. The pastor invited the man over and as the lawyer came into the study he immediately said, “I have just one question for you: do you believe that Jesus was really raised from the dead? Do you really believe it?” “Yes, I really do,” the pastor replied. The lawyer smiled and said, “Thank you, that’s all I needed to know.” And then he left. Jesus really was raised from the dead. He really is still alive and he really is still right here in our every act of love, kindness, grace, compassion, and hope. Jesus lives and so do we. That’s all most people need to know...
  • The Promise of Easter Life and Moving President Polk

    by Janet Hunt
    And so this week, the story as old and deep and far reaching as people gathering for such as this everywhere came home to me again as I overheard the debate about the fate of the body of President James K. Polk who is now in his third ‘final resting place’ and may be destined for a fourth. Never mind that poor James has been moved several times since his death in 1849. For evidently, first he was in a mass grave in the Nashville City Cemetery. He had died of cholera and this was a measure to prevent infectious diseases spreading from the corpses. Next he was moved to Polk Place grounds — the Nashville mansion which had been his home.
  • Proclaiming an On-Going Easter

    by David Lose
    And perhaps that’s the Easter message I would like to hear this week, that Easter isn’t over. That resurrection wasn’t a once-and-done historical aberration but rather reflects the dynamic and ongoing nature and work of the God we meet in Christ. Karl Barth once said that “the goal of human life is not death, but resurrection.” That does not mean that death is not a fearsome reality, only that it does not have the final word.
  • We Are a Resurrection People

    by Jim McCrea
    Some years ago, Alexander Sanders, the Chief Judge of the South Carolina Court of Appeals, was asked to speak at the graduation ceremony for the University of South Carolina, both because of his prestigious position and because his daughter was one of the graduating seniors.
    During that speech, he told a true story about a time when his daughter was little. He said “One time when Zoe was three years old. I came home from work to find a crisis in [the house], Zoe’s pet turtle had died. And she was crying as if her heart would break.
    “Her mother, having coped with the problems of the home all day, turned that one over to me to solve. At the time, I was practicing law and serving in the Legislature. Frankly, it was a problem a lawyer politician was not up to solving. The mysteries of life and death are difficult, if not impossible for the mature mind to fathom. The task of explaining them to a three-year-old was completely beyond either my confidence or experience. But I tried.
  • With Fear and Great Joy

    by Beth Quick
    Brueggemann writes, “Being unafraid is an odd vocation; but it is the vocation of all those who have been baptized. We are different when baptized. The Acts account of the early church says that the Spirit of God came upon Jesus in baptism …. What the Spirit does is visit our lives … with the freedom of God, so that we are unafraid in the world, able to live differently, not needing to control, not needing to dominate, not needing to accumulate, not driven by anxiety.” The disciples, he says, were “known, named, and unafraid people,” who “turned the world upside down.” “Or better to say, they turned the world right side up.”
  • A Voice That Never Dies

    by Ron Rolheiser, OMI
    Easter is about many things. We celebrate God’s power to overcome death, sin, and injustice, but we also celebrate the voices and wounds of the ones who died on Good Friday. To illustrate this, I would like to recount one such voice, that of an anonymous, young woman who was brutally raped and murdered by the Salvadoran military in 1981, at a place fittingly called La Cruz. The story was reported by Mark Danner, a journalist. He describes how, after this particular massacre, some soldiers told how one of their victims haunted them and how they could not get her out of their minds long after her death. They had plundered a village and raped many of the women. One of these was a young woman, an evangelical Christian, whom had been raped many times in a single afternoon and subsequently tortured. However, throughout this all, this young woman, clinging to her belief in Christ, had sung hymns.
  • What Did You Expect?

    by Dennis Sepper
    A’layah Robinson had a tough start to life. She and her two brothers were born to a mother who was a drug addict and placed in foster care. Once there, like many foster kids, they bounced from house to house with various foster families. A’layah and her brothers had no real home and no one they felt they could trust. That was until A’layah and her brothers were adopted by the Robinson family. With a real home and parents who loved her, A’layah blossomed and flourished. Even though life was now secure and good one thing bothered her. A’layah realized that while in foster care her brothers never had one toy that was their own. A’layah decided she had to do something about that.
  • Don't Be Afraid of the Future

    Sermon Starter by Leonard Sweet
    Occasionally I fly back to South Carolina for a trustee meeting at a wonderful Methodist institution called Wofford College. On a recent trip I had an extra hour or two, so I decided to take a sentimental journey back to the little town of Greer. My father was pastor there when I was a little boy. Right away I noticed so many things that had changed. Our old house has been torn down and replaced. The yard has shrunk. I saw the tree from which my little cowboy friends almost hung me, accidentally, and I thanked God for my mother's quick reaction and handy kitchen knife.

    The memories were fun, but thirty minutes was enough. I was ready to leave. Thomas Wolfe was right when he observed that you can't go home again. You can't turn back the clock.

  • The Story Was Saving His Life

    by Peter Thompson
    A character in Salman Rushdie’s novel The Enchantress of Florence laid chained up in a deep dungeon, where he was crawled over by roaches, snakes, rats, scorpions, and lice. But the character, as he buckled under his restraints and was trampled on by creeping creatures, was concerned foremost not with the filth that surrounded him or his inability to escape his conditions; he was distraught primarily because he could not tell his story. “All men needed to hear their stories told,” the man thought to himself. “He was a man, but” he believed that “if he died without telling the story he would be something less than that, a…cockroach, a louse.” In the dungeon, all the man could feel was “his story slipping away from him, becoming inconsequential, ceasing to be.” Eventually, the man was taken out of the dungeon, and as he slowly adjusted to his new surroundings the story came back to him.

Illustrated Resources from 2011 to 2016

  • I Don't Believe in an Interventionist God

    by Neil Bishop
    (" I like Nick Cave's song because of its audacious first line: 'I don't believe in an interventionist God'. What an unlikely way to begin a love song! He once explained that he wrote the song while sitting at the back of an Anglican church where he had gone with his wife Susie, who presumably does believe in an interventionist God - at least that's what the song says. Cave's father died in a car accident when he was only 19...")
  • Easter Wings

    by Daniel Clendenin
    (Poem by George Herbert)
  • There's a Whole Lotta Shaking Goin' On!

    by Kathy Donley
    Matthew is the only gospel writer who mentions an earthquake on Easter morning. Matthew tends to include the big things like that – he’s the one who tells us about the star and the magi coming to Bethlehem too. Matthew understands that Jesus’ coming into the world is a cosmic event, nothing is ever going to be the same. And so he tells us about an earthquake. Earthquakes are measured by seismographs. Earthquakes are studied by seismologists. Both of those words come from the Greek verb seismo. And that verb, which means to shake or to quake is all over the place in the end of Matthew’s gospel. Last week, we had the story of Jesus entering Jerusalem in Matthew 21:10 It says that when Jesus arrived, the whole city seismo (ed) the whole city was shaking. And then in chapter 27, on Good Friday, when Jesus breathed his last, verse 51, the earth shakes. It happens twice in the short reading for this morning. First it says that the earth shakes while an angel rolls back the tombstone. And then the Romans guards shake and become like dead men. Matthew wants us to see that there’s a whole lotta shaking goin’ on...
  • Death, Thou Shalt Die

    by Ron Hansen
    ("The Easter message, Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, is that 'God is Death's death'. Earlier the English poet and cleric John Donne wrote in one of his Holy Sonnets: 'Death, be not proud, though some have called thee mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so; for those, whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow, die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.' John Donne concludes his sonnet with this stirring Easter message: 'One short sleep past, we wake eternally, and Death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.'...")
  • Bright Red Cellophane and the Easter Promise

    by Janet Hunt
    ("I must have been about seven years old. We had gone to visit our Grandpa for Easter that year. I was standing in the kitchen. Although there were people all around me, the room went silent in my mind as I looked up. On the top shelf of the small closet which stood open before me, half tucked behind winter scarves and gloves was a roll of red cellophane. You know the sort --- the kind that is used to wrap Easter baskets. The sort that only the Easter Bunny should have had....")
  • Resurrection Life Around Us

    by Julianne Parker
    ("I travel regularly along Maiden Gully Road, the initial path of the fire on Black Saturday. Not long after that a few new leaves sprouted on some trees. Some came straight out of the black trunks. But there looked to be little hope for many of the trees. Months passed before surprisingly, some started shooting from the base. Many that were surely dead sprang back to life. Some never made it, though...")
  • Does the Resurrection Contradict Science?

    by Matt Rossano
    ("in his recent book on the last days of Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth Holy Week: From the Entrance Into Jerusalem to the Resurrection, Pope Benedict XVI argues that reckoning Resurrection as resuscitation of a corpse is to misunderstand its true significance. Jesus' Resurrection, he contends, was an utterly singular event, straining the very limits of human understanding...")
  • With Fear and Great Joy

    by David Russell
    ("There is a story of a man brought up for execution. He is told that he has two choices. He may choose the firing squad, or the big black door. He chooses the firing squad. Later the executioner commented, 'Everyone chooses the firing squad. I have never yet had a person choose the big black door.' Someone asked, 'What's behind the big black door?' 'Freedom.'...")
  • But the Tomb Was Empty

    by Robert Stuhlmann
    ("There's an old story about a Sunday School class that was learning about the Resurrection. Among the children in the class was David, a boy of about seven who had Down syndrome. The teacher had gathered a number of Legg containers, the egg shaped plastic containers that held the nylons that women used to slip on their legs in order to be more beautiful...")
  • All Boxed In

    Sermon Starter by Leonard Sweet
    ("last year's 'Resurrection Sunday Dance' took place in Budapest, Hungary, where God is up to some amazing things. This very moment on Easter Sunday Christians are 'Resurrection Dancing' at various capitols and courtyards around the world. But here is my favorite one from 2010 Resurrection Sunday in Budapest, Hungary...")
  • God Reached Out

    by Mark Zabriskie
    ("Several years ago, the Philadelphia Inquirer carried the story of a 21-year-old student, who died in a bus crash on the New Jersey Turnpike. When a doctor at the hospital told his father that his son was dead, the father said, 'I wanted to break something, but I couldn't move. My body felt frozen. I couldn't say anything. I just needed to see him right away.' Taken to his son, the father said, 'I touched his face, his body, his arm. It was so painful...")

Illustrated Resources from the Archives

  • The Body's Gone!

    Narrative Sermon by Peter Blackburn
    from the view of Caiaphas
  • He's Alive!

    Narrative Sermon by Peter Blackburn
    from the view of Barabbas
  • Apollo 13, Death and Resurrection

    by Gary Botha
    ("Some of you might remember the great drama that took place in space during the early years of NASA's space exploration with the Apollo missions to the moon; and in particular the mission of Apollo 13 in 1970. Some of you might have seen the terrific movie made about this mission of a few years ago starring Tom Hanks...")
  • Easter (C)(2010)

    by Robert Brow
    ("Once upon a time there were twins inside their mother's womb. Every day they argued about life after birth. One of them said 'How could there be another life? There is nowhere to go...")
  • The Laughter of the Universe

    by John Buchanan
    ("Out of her own experience, Anne LaMott writes, 'When God is going to do something wonderful, He or She always starts with a hardship. When God is going to do something amazing, He or She starts with an impossibility.'..." and several other quotes)
  • God Bless the Grass

    by Barbara Bundick
    ("On May 18, 1980, the force of the blast was measured in megatons. On that day ash flew twelve miles into the air. On that day more than 2000 square miles of forest was scoured beyond redemption by 800 degree fahrenheit winds that passed over at 600 miles per hour...")
  • Rejoice!

    by George Butterfield
    ("There is a fascinating passage in Geoffrey Moorhouse's book Sun Dancing, which beautifully illustrates this point. Sun Dancing is about medieval Irish monasticism and specifically tells the story of the monks who lived their lives on an island off of Ireland named Skellig Michael....")
  • Our Cup Overflows

    by Patricia de Jong
    ("There is a story about a young man from Lubbock, Texas who was visiting the Grand Canyon for the first time in his life. The young man stood on the rim of the cavernous canyon which had been carved through millions of years of erosion by the force of the mighty Colorado River...")
  • The Great Deception

    by Adrian Dieleman
    ("In a cemetery in Hanover, Germany, is a grave on which were placed huge slabs of granite and marble cemented together and fastened with heavy steel clasps. It belongs to a woman who did not believe in the resurrection of the dead....")
  • Footloose

    by Rob Elder
    In John Masefield’s imaginative drama, The Trial of Jesus, there’s an interesting exchange between two legendary persons. Longinus, the traditional name of the Roman centurion who was in charge of the crucifixion, the one who is supposed to have said, “truly this was the Son of God,” (Mt 27:54) returns to the court of Pilate to give his report. There he is drawn aside by Procula, Pilate’s wife. She asks him, “Do you think he is dead?” Longinus replies, “No, Lady, I don’t.” “Then where is he?” she asks. He says, “Lady, he’s let loose in the world.” Footloose, that’s what Jesus was, and is, defying all our attempts to keep him in some safe place...
  • Spirits in the Divine Service

    by Robert Elder
    ("Vaclav Havel, former president of the post-Soviet Czech Republic, once said: 'Hope is an orientation of the spirit, a reorientation of the heart. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something will make sense, regardless how it turns out.'...")
  • The Difference Easter Makes

    by Bruce Goettsche
    ("Joan Chittester reaches into the literature of the masters to remember a time when a great army invaded the country and created a path of destruction wherever they went. Their greatest wrath was reserved for a holy people they found, particularly the monks...")
  • The Power of the Resurrection

    by Michael Hays
    ("Danny was only 27 years old that rainy night in February 1985, when his car slid into a barricade and killed a police officer—Danny never saw the man....")
  • A Going Concern

    by Donald Hoffman
    ("There is an old, old legend which the great German poet Goethe turned into an epic poem: the tragedy of Faust...")
  • Bone Collectors

    from Homiletics Online
    ("It's a sophisticated archaeological dig. The workers at the site are looking for bones. Not famous bones or even ancient bones, but some very specific bones -- namely, the remains of Navy Cmdr. Richard Rich, whose F4 Phantom was shot down on May 17, 1967, over Ha Tay, Vietnam...." and other illustrations)
  • Frozen Moments and The Other Mary

    by John Jewell
    ("John C. Purdy captures the scene in his book of reflections, God With a Human Face: 'Cecil B. DeMille couldn’t have dreamed up anything more stunning. (It was literally stunning for the men who were guarding the tomb.) There was an earthquake, caused by something like a sonic boom...")
  • ...He Rose Again...

    by David Leininger
    ("In 1968 Millard and Linda Fuller visited Koinonia, planning only to stay for a couple hours. Inspired by Dr. Jordan, however, the Fullers chose to make Koinonia their permanent home. Soon the organization changed its name to Koinonia Partners and started "Partnership Housing...")
  • Transforming The Stone

    by Barbara K. Lundblad
    ("Theologian Delores Williams bears testimony to resurrection's transforming power. Her African American ancestors were carried to this country in slave ships named John the Baptist, Mary, Justice and Jesus...")
  • We Are a Resurrection People

    by James McCrea
    ("Some time ago researchers at Duke University in North Carolina conducted a telling, if cruel, experiment. They gathered a group of lab rats and sealed half of them in a container of water where there was no obvious way of escape. They sealed the other half of the rats in a container of water where escape seemed to be possible..." and other quotes)
  • A Change of Address

    by Charles Mims
    ("In the Good Friday edition of B.C., an Ant walks up and sees another ant with a clerical collar standing between a cave with a cross on top and a sign that says, 'Good Friday Service Today'. The first ant says, 'Sickos! If somebody killed my God on a Friday, I certainly wouldn't call it Good Friday.'..." and several other illustrations)
  • Easter Vigil (A)

    by Paul O'Reilly, SJ
    ("Every doctor always remembers the first patient who died under his care. For me, it was an elderly woman who came to hospital very sick with heat stroke and dehydration. We did our best for her; put fluid back into the veins and treated everything else we could treat...")
  • Jesus Christ: Alive and With Us to the End

    by John Piper
    ("And then, as many of you know, Ruby Eliason and Laura Edwards died this week in Cameroon in a car accident - Ruby in her eighties and Laura in her seventies...")
  • A Joyful Fear

    by Stephen Portner
    ("A young boy moved with his family to a new community and church. The Sunday School class required each student to give a memory verse to the entire congregation. The boy was given the verse from Matthew 14:27: "It is I, do not be afraid"...." and other illustrations)
  • Easter Sunday

    by John Pridmore
    ("On 16 February 1977, Archbishop Janani Luwum of Uganda had a meeting with President Idi Amin, whose murderous regime he had opposed outspokenly. After the meeting, the Archbishop was driven away, along with two government ministers...")
  • Grace in Our Galilees

    by Byron Shafer
    ("Let me quote a contemporary psalm of lament uttered by the poet Ann Weems following her son's murder. She cries out in Psalms of Lament: 'O God, what am I going to do? He's gone—and I'm left with an empty pit in my life....")
  • People of the Rolled Stone

    by Billy Strayhorn
    ("In the Good Friday edition of B.C., an Ant walks up and sees another ant with a clerical collar standing between a cave with a cross on top and a sign that says 'Good Friday Service Today'...." and other illustrations including the cracked pot)
  • The Day Life Increased

    by Mark Trotter
    ("The Antiques Roadshow has become one of my favorite television shows. If you haven't seen it, you should know that it is simply a group of appraisers who travel around the country, rent out convention centers and civic auditoriums, and people by the thousands bring in some object they have found in their house..." and other illustrations)
  • The Principal of the Resurrection

    by Keith Wagner
    ("When Winston Churchill planned his funeral he included a bugler, positioned high in the dome of Saint Paul's Cathedral in England. After the benediction the bugler played "Taps," signaling that the service was over. But, Churchill also included a surprise at the end of the service...")

Other Resources from 2019

Other Resources from 2017 and 2018

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Other Resources from 2011 to 2016

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Other Resources from 2002 to 2010

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Other Resources from 1999 to 2001

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Resources from the Archives

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Children's Resources and Dramas

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The Classics

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