Matthew 28:6 —“He isn’t here! God has raised him to life, just as Jesus said he would. Come, see the place where his body was lying.” (Contemporary English Version)
“He isn’t here! God has raised him to life.” In other words, “He’s alive!” Can you imagine the exuberance and bewilderment Jesus’ followers must have felt when they arrived at the tomb and found it empty? Everything Jesus promised them had come to pass. Friday had been a day of devastation and viciousness. But Sunday, Resurrection Day, proved to be a day of delight and total victory.
The gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John all depict Jesus’ final moments. The followers of Christ, to include his family and disciples, would have witnessed these final moments and undoubtedly had their faith shaken to the core. Imagine being Jesus’ family, or walking with him during the three years of his public ministry and having him pour promises of eternal life into your heart, mind and soul. Imagine seeing his final moments and questioning every miracle and every promise he’d ever spoken.
Now imagine arriving at the tomb after the Sabbath only to find Jesus’ body not there. Or, hearing the news that spread quickly thereafter. Had Jesus’ body been moved in another location? Was it stolen? How will we explain this reality to others?
The angel of the Lord provides the answer by declaring to Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, “Don’t be afraid! I know you are looking for Jesus, who was nailed to a cross. He isn’t here! God has raised him to life, just as Jesus said he would. Come, see the place where his body was lying.” We can glean three important lessons from this passage of scripture.
Don’t be afraid. Fear is a common response to the unknown and in moments of uncertainty. 2 Timothy 1:7 reminds us that “God’s Spirit doesn’t make cowards out of us. The Spirit gives us power, love, and self-control. Whatever we are confronted with can be overcome through power, love, and self-control.”
Jesus isn’t here. More specifically, profoundly and importantly, Jesus isn’t among the dead, He is among the living. The angel seeks to reassure both Marys that Jesus’ words, miracles and promises are real. Jesus promised he would resurrect. The angel’s words serve as further confirmation. He who was dead now lives, just like he said he would.
Finally, God has raised him to life! “The crucifixion of Jesus was a part of God’s plan from the very beginning of the birth of Jesus. The sin of mankind would require a sacrifice. The sinless life of Jesus was lived and given so that man could receive salvation and eternal life in heaven.” (Source: biblestudytools.com)
God raised Jesus to life so that sin (death) would not have the final say over humanity. We can trust in Jesus’ power to heal, deliver and set us free from any form of illness, ailment or oppression.
Good Friday must come, the day of Christ’s agonizing earthly despair and subsequent physical demise. We must wait through Saturday, that dark period which tests and shakes our faith to the very core. But we can trust Jesus’ promise that Sunday is coming, and on Sunday, the angel will once again boldly proclaim; “He isn’t here! God has raised him to life, just as Jesus said he would. Come, see the place where his body was lying.”
He’s Alive! And that’s Good News for all eternity.
Dr. Preston T. Adams III is senior pastor at Amazing Grace Christian Church in Indianapolis. Contact Pastor Adams via email at email@example.com or via Twitter @DrPrestonTAdams. For more information, visit agccindy.org.