During the 2018 World Cup, Colombian forward Radamel Falcao scored in the seventieth minute against Poland, securing a victory. The dramatic goal was Falcao’s thirtieth in international play, earning him the distinction of scoring the most goals by a Colombian player in international competition.
Falcao has often used his success on the soccer pitch to share his faith, frequently lifting his jersey after a score to reveal a shirt with the words, Con Jesus nunca estara solo: “With Jesus you’ll never be alone.”
Falcao’s statement points us to the reassuring promise from Jesus, “I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). Knowing He was about to return to heaven, Jesus comforted His disciples by assuring them He’d always be with them, through the presence of His Spirit (v. 20; John 14:16–18). Christ’s Spirit would comfort, guide, protect, and empower them as they took the message of Jesus to cities both near and far. And when they experienced periods of intense loneliness in unfamiliar places, Christ’s words would likely echo in their ears, a reminder of His presence with them.
No matter where we go, whether close to home or faraway, as we follow Jesus into the unknown we too can cling to this same promise. Even when we experience feelings of loneliness, as we reach out in prayer to Jesus, we can receive comfort knowing He’s with us.
The events in our passage from the final chapter of Matthew take place soon after Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. At dawn “Mary Magdalene and the other Mary” had gone to “look at [Jesus’] tomb” (Matthew 28:1). Mary Magdalene was the woman from Magdala who’d been healed of seven evil spirits and was one of the women who helped support Jesus and His disciples (Luke 8:1–3). But who was this “other Mary”? Many believe she was “Mary the wife of Clopas” (John 19:25). Others say she was Mary the mother of James and Joseph (Matthew 27:56; Mark 15:40; Luke 24:10). And others declare she was both the wife of Clopas and the mother of James and Joseph. No matter her identity, she and Mary Magdalene expected to see a closed tomb and instead met the risen Christ Himself