28 Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. 2 And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. 3 His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. 4 And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men.
5 But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. 7 And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.”
8 So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word.
9 And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, “Rejoice!” So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me.”
11 Now while they were going, behold, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all the things that had happened. 12 When they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, 13 saying, “Tell them, ‘His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept.’ 14 And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will appease him and make you secure.” 15 So they took the money and did as they were instructed; and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.
The account of Jesus’ resurrection is told so simply: The faithful women go looking for their crucified Lord in His tomb, expecting to find His lifeless corpse, convinced that death has won yet another victory. But the stone is rolled away. The tomb is empty. And the angels are the first messengers to confirm the meaning of these signs: “He is not here, for He is risen, as He said.” “As He said”—that makes Jesus’ resurrection absolutely unique in all of history. He not only predicted His death; He foretold His resurrection from the dead. He said that He would suffer, be crucified, and rise from the dead (cf. Mark 8:31, etc.). He said that He would rebuild the temple of His body in three days after the Jews had destroyed it (cf. John 2:19). He said that He would lay down His life willingly and then take it up again by His own power (cf. John 10:17). As always, Jesus was true to His word.
The One who rose from the dead is the same One who died as the sacrifice for the world’s sins. He is the same One who was born our Brother that He might redeem us, His brothers who were once captive to sin and death. Now death has been overcome by our Brother, who is the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. Now life is guaranteed to all who trust in Him, and death has lost its iron grip, for He was delivered for our sins and raised again for our justification. “Do not be afraid,” said the angel. “Do not be afraid,” says the Lord. May His words ring in our ears at all times and comfort us in our final hour.
Let us pray: O risen Lord Christ, drive out all fear from our hearts as we contemplate Your glorious resurrection, and cheer us with Your promise of forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation to all who trust in You. Amen.