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You – you look and see!

Now after the sabbaths, toward the dawning of the first of the sabbaths, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the grave. And, you – you look and see, there was a great earthquake, because a messenger of the Lord, having come down from heaven and having come near, rolled back the stone and was sitting on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. Then the messenger, explaining, said to the women, “You – don’t you fear, because I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified. He’s not here because he’s risen, just as he said. Come, you – you look and see the place where he lay. Then, leaving straight away, you – you tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and, you – you look and see, he’s going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. I say to you – you look and see.” So, having gone out straight away from the tomb with fear and great joy, they ran to take the message to his disciples. And you – you look and see, Jesus met them stating “You – you rejoice!” And they, having come near, took hold of his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus stated to them, “You – don’t you fear; you – you go out, you – you take the message to my brothers that they may go to Galilee and that there they also will see me.” Matthew 28: 1-7
 
There’s no question about it. It’s a fact which cannot be denied. Every live birth on earth is followed by a death.

That’s not in any political manifestos. It’s not discussed in polite company. All of us adults live our lives as though it’s not going to happen to us – ever.

The live birth of Jesus in Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago also gave rise to death.  

 
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‘It’s impossible to be sure of anything but death and taxes.’ (Christopher Bullock, dramatist, 1690-1724) 
On a different subject, we all know that every sentence has a verb. A verb indicates action – the action which the sentence describes. Verbs come in past present and future tenses: past tense, “he saw”; present tense, “he sees”; future tense, “he will see”. But there’s another tense known as the imperative: “see”, “look and see”. The imperative is a command, an instruction. For that reason, imperative verbs are always in the third person: “you – you look and see”. 

Take a fresh look at Matthew’s written record of the discovery of the resurrection of Jesus from death on that cross in AD 30. “Now after the sabbaths, toward the dawning of the first of the sabbaths, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the grave. And, you – you look and see, there was a great earthquake, because a messenger of the Lord, having come down from heaven and having come near, rolled back the stone and was sitting on it.” Yes, Matthew inserted an imperative verb for us, “you - you look and see”.

He continued like this. “For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. Then the messenger, explaining, said to the women, “You – don’t you fear, because I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified. He’s not here because he’s risen, just as he said. Come, you – you look and see the place where he lay. Then, leaving straight away, you – you tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and, you – you look and see, he’s going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. I say to you – you look and see.” Matthew records that the messenger from heaven used four imperatives when speaking to the women: “you - don’t you fear; “”you – you look and see the place where he lay”; “you – you tell his disciples”; “you - look and see – he’s going before you to Galilee; “you – you look and see”.

 
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 ‘Look! look! look and live! / There is life for a look at the Crucified One, / There is life at this moment for you.’ (Amelia M Hull, hymn writer, 1812-1884) 
Matthew then takes up the description of events for his readers again. “So, having gone out straight away from the tomb with fear and great joy, they ran to take the message to his disciples. And you – you look and see, Jesus met them stating “Rejoice!” Using an imperative verb, he instructs his readers, “You - you look and see that Jesus met them, stating “You – you rejoice!” “

Finally, Matthew records the words of Jesus to these two ladies. “They, having come near, took hold of his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus stated to them, “You – don’t you fear; you – you go out, you – you take the message to my brothers that they may go to Galilee and that there they also will see me. Three imperatives: “don’t you fear”; you – you go out”; you – you take the message to my brothers.” The message of life from the dead.

Death is absolutely certain. In this extremely short paragraph, there are nine imperatives. One is repeated five times: “You – you look and see!” Maybe we – we who all face death - should respond to these repeated imperatives.

 
Sinner Syvret

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