Matthew 28:1-7 (NIV) After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”
The women returned to the tomb as had been planned. The previous evening they had watched the sun dip below the horizon, signaling the end of the Sabbath, and had made a beeline for a dealer in spices, where they bought what they needed. (See Mark 16:1.) Then they went back home to prepare everything for the following morning. By the time the sun was clearing the horizon, they were nearing the tomb, where an amazing sight awaited them.
Just before they rounded the last bend in the path to the tomb, a strong earthquake accompanied by a bright flash of light startled them. By the time they arrived at the tomb itself, the stone had been rolled away from the mouth of the tomb, ripping from its cords the clay seal that bore the mark of Pontius Pilate and the authority of the Roman Empire. And the streak of light had coalesced into the form of a man whose body and clothes shone like lightning. The guards were lying motionless on the ground, their minds shocked into a stupor by the stunning sights and sounds.
The women were shocked, too. Though rooted to the spot in fear, they kept their senses long enough to hear the angel give them the glad tidings: Jesus had risen from the dead. The tomb was empty. Then he pointed a glowing finger directly at them, and commissioned them to go and share the good news with Jesus’ disciples. And then he simply disappeared.
It didn’t take more than a quick glimpse into the tomb to tell them that the slab that had held Jesus’ body now only held the hollow, collapsed shell of the linen cloth that Joseph and Nicodemus had swathed Him in. It really was true! Jesus really had risen from the dead, just as He had promised! And so they turned back toward town.
Father, some good news seems almost too good to be true, even if it is delivered by a brilliantly shining angel. And this news was definitely that kind. Even though Jesus had foretold His resurrection numerous times, and promised that it would surely happen, the minds of His followers refused to accept it until it was delivered in such a way that they couldn’t possibly doubt. Help me to hear anew all of the great promises that You have made to me in Your word, and help me to have an open heart that doesn’t doubt, doesn’t question, doesn’t even try to figure out the whys and hows, but simply accepts your word and acts on it in faith. Amen.