He is risen!
READ Matthew 28:1-10
Despite Jesus’ consistent teaching, everyone appears to be surprised by what happened. Only Matthew describes the actual rolling away of the stone by the angel (2). The common perception of angels as all-white creatures who would do no one any harm is very far from the truth. In the first century angels were never thought to have wings and this angel precipitates earthquakes, rolls back heavy stones, and terrifies the life out of not only the women but also professional soldiers (4). In the New Testament any appearance of angels is accompanied by the necessary reassurance “Do not be afraid” (1:20, 21; Luke 1:11-13, 26-30).
In Jewish courts at this time the testimony of women was not acceptable. It is a mark of the innocent certainty of the facts related, that the women should be accepted as the first witnesses (5-7). They are invited to examine the evidence carefully (6) and charged with the awesome and exhilarating responsibility of recounting what had happened to the other disciples (7). Jesus always affirmed women. The gospel often turns our expectations upside down (5:3-12). The description of the women as “afraid yet filled with joy” (8) aptly evokes the surge of barely controllable emotions they must have felt. This is captured on Easter Sunday by many churches in the acclamation ‘The Lord is risen!’ and the response ‘He is risen indeed!’ And if this were not enough, the woman meet Jesus, falling at His feet in worship (9). Once again they urged “Do not be afraid” (10) and the angel’s commission is repeated. Genuine spiritual insight is always followed by a commissioning. But the tone of Jesus command is so gentle especially as He refers to the disciples as His “brothers” (12:50; 25:40). We become Christians precisely to serve the living Lord and to bring Him glory.
PRAY ‘Yours is the glory, risen, conquering Son!’ I praise You, Lord
Jesus, that You go ahead of me. Help me to trust You.