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“He is not here for He has risen, just as He said.” Matthew 28:6
Up from the grave He arose with a mighty triumph o’re His foes! What a powerful reminder of our Jesus on this beautiful Easter morning!
But for Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, that morning was like none other. After the Sabbath the women had walked to the tomb at dawn. There was a violent earthquake, and an angel of the Lord had come down from heaven, gone over to the tomb, rolled the stone away and waited there. The guards were so terrified they fled in fear. God’s word tells us in Matthew 28:4, “That the guards shook and became like dead men.” Can you imagine Mary Magdalene’s reaction when she saw the stone had been rolled away and Jesus was missing? The women had arrived with a plan and every detail worked out only to find nothing was as it had been. Think about their reactions. What would they do next?
Mary Magdalene had questions. Where was Jesus? Who had taken his body? Where had he been taken? She was in the throes of grief and despair and looking for answers that would calm her and give her peace and comfort. The angels saw her struggling to compose herself and they asked her why she was crying. She told them someone had taken Jesus. But the angels said to her, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he is risen.” (Luke 24:5-6)
What a glorious moment this must have been for Mary Magdalene and the others. When all else seemed bleak and without hope the angels delivered the most tender of messages that morning–Jesus was not in the tomb. Jesus arose from the grave, just as he promised. He showed the people that the hope he proclaimed in his Gospel message was real, and so was God’s power at work in the world. How reassuring for us to know he accomplishes all he has promised.
I’ve wondered about the range of emotions the women experienced on that Sunday morning so many years ago. Can we fully comprehend the levels of fear, grief, confusion, and joy they dealt with during the turn of events? And yet when they needed answers most, it was the angels who told them that Jesus was alive. Isn’t that just like God to provide answers when we need them most? We may not always understand everything, but His timing is perfect.
What a series of events Mary Magdalene and the others had been through that day. And then, as if there could be no more surprises, they encountered Jesus himself. Mary Magdalene recognized him, and he greeted her. She went to Him immediately out of love and adoration. There Jesus told her, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” (Matthew 28:8-10) Isn’t it wonderful what happened next? The women didn’t keep this good news to themselves. They went and told the disciples all of the things that had happened and they spread the news that Jesus was alive.
This was a day for all eternity. Christ had indeed been raised from the dead. (1 Corinthians 15:20) The resurrection shows us that the living Christ is the ruler of God’s eternal universe.
As we celebrate Easter we are reminded what Jesus endured for us to save us from our sin. The resurrection of Christ is the one thing that gives us hope; it is the one thing that makes our Christian life worth living.
As we look to the week ahead we should do what the women did on that morning so long ago. We should go out into the world and tell others about what Christ did for us. The depth of his love is no secret. There is joy and victory in the resurrection of Christ. And we can sing Hallelujah, the Lamb has overcome.
I’ll be praying for you.
*The Resurrection is recorded in all four Gospels: Matthew 28; Mark 16; Luke 24 and John 20