Scripture Reading: Matthew 28:5-6
On the first sunrise of the week, Mary and Mary Magdalene were coming to visit Christ’s tomb. No doubt they were still numb from the events of the last few days. Their overwhelming grief at Jesus’ death hadn’t faded (Matthew 27:61). For them, the cross was not only a cosmological catastrophe, it was a personal one, too. So they came as they were. They came to seek him one more time, one more attempt at drawing near the place where he lay.
But on this morning of all mornings, things were about to change forever. As soon as they arrived, there was a great earthquake, followed by the blinding light of an angel descending. His appearance was so striking that the soldiers became “like dead men.” However, he wasn’t here for them. He was sent to deliver a particular summons, meant especially for these women.
Knowing why they had come, he removed the stone, declared that Jesus had risen and then invited them inside. More specifically, he told them to “Come, see the place where he lay.” With their own eyes, they looked at the spot where Jesus’ body had been laid, only to find it wasn’t there anymore!
And in an impossible moment, the tragedy of the tomb was transformed into a triumph!
All at once, Jesus dealt sin, suffering, Satan and even death itself a devastatingly fatal blow by rising from the grave. Every single one of the claims that Jesus made while he was alive were vindicated in an instant. This, this was no longer a scene of sorrow. Instead, it proved to be a culminating, once-for-all victory!
The dawn of that day is still shining.
As we celebrate the resurrection this Easter, we too are being beckoned to its light. Maybe for the first time or maybe for the thousandth time, we are invited to come and believe. We are to come just as we are with all our brokenness, sin and doubts. This story endures so that we too will experience that same transforming joy!
So, we draw near today. Not in mourning as these first disciples did, but in celebration! Every promise made in Christ has been authenticated on the authority of an empty grave.
“He is not here, for he has risen, just as he said.”