1Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 2And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. 5But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. 7Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.” 8So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. 10Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”
Out of their love for Jesus, in the predawn hours, they came to take care of His dead body. Underneath this outwardly pious and most admirable deed is not their ignorance of the fact of the resurrection, it is their out-and-out unbelief. Jesus had told them and His disciples earlier, “The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day” (Matthew 17:22-23). However, when they arrived at the tomb and found it empty, the angel that had rolled away the stone invited them to “see the place where He lay” (6).
The empty tomb is the proof Christ has risen from the dead and has finished the work of redemption for all of humanity. It is Christ who rescues and frees us from our old sinful selves. He alone did what you and I could not do. Jesus obeyed God’s law perfectly; He pleased the heavenly Father when we could not. He suffered the punishment for our sins on the cross. And on Easter Morning, as the angel told the women “He has risen, as He said” (6).
Celebrating the empty tomb with “great joy” is not about just affirming some facts about Christ’s resurrection. Because the angel rolled the stone away, proving the tomb was empty, we who were once lost now know our redemption has been completed. Our Easter joy and hope lies in the fact that because Jesus lives, we are now redeemed. Because Christ lives, we can face tomorrow, because He lives, we no longer need to live in fear because we have the assurance of God’s love and the certainty of eternal life in heaven. Easter means, for the sake of our Crucified and Risen Lord; all our sins are forgiven. Truly Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed! Halleluiah! That is the joy of Easter, Amen.
Grace Lutheran Church LCMS
825 North 1st West
Cheyenne Wells, CO, 80810-0728
Sunday Service begins at 9:00AM
Reverend Steve Zandstra