He Is Not Here

Matthew 286 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Matthew 28:1–8 (ESV)

1 Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went 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 and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4 And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. 5 But the angel 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 has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. 7 Then 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.” 8 So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples.

Parallel Text: Mark 16:1-8

Understanding and Applying the Word

Imagine going to Jesus’ tomb, where you plan to put spices and perfume on his body, only to find the tomb empty. Surely you would be surprised. You would wonder what had happened to Jesus. This is what happened to these women that we read about today. They were still grieving their loss, as Jesus had only been in the tomb since Friday evening and it is now Sunday morning.

As they wondered about Jesus, we are told that an angel appeared and spoke to them. The angel told reminded them that Jesus had said he would rise from the dead and that he had indeed done so. He showed the women the place where Jesus’ body had been laid and then told them to go and tell the others what had happened. They would soon find Jesus in Galilee.

The response of the women was mixed. We read that they were filled with both fear and joy. Joy because they had just been told that Jesus was alive, but joy because how could something like this be so? If he was alive again, what did that mean? The truth of the resurrection should cause fear and joy in us as well. We are filled with joy because Jesus has provided victory over sin and death. He is a Savior that can actually save and his resurrection proves it. However, his resurrection also tells us that there is judgment for sin. We stand condemned in our sin if we do not have Christ. We must feel fear for those who have not turned to Jesus in repentance and faith and we must tell them of the salvation available to all who will believe.

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Sealing Jesus’ Tomb

Stone Tomb Closure

Reading the Word

Matthew 27:62–66 (ESV)

62 The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate 63 and said, “Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise.’ 64 Therefore order the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away and tell the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last fraud will be worse than the first.” 65 Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers. Go, make it as secure as you can.” 66 So they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard.

Understanding and Applying the Word

The religious leaders knew that Jesus had proclaimed that he would rise from the dead. They did everything in their power to see to it that such a story could not be fabricated by the disciples. A guard of soldiers was set and the tomb was sealed. No one was going to steal Jesus’ body and make it seem like he had risen.

The plan of the religious leaders was a good one to combat a false resurrection story. If the body was protected and still in the tomb, it would be impossible for others to say Jesus had risen just as he said he would. However, the plan had one major problem. What if Jesus really did rise from the dead? What if no one tried to steal the body and make up a false story, but Jesus rose and left the tomb on his own?

The resurrection is the center event of the whole Bible. It verifies all that Jesus said about himself. He truly is the Son of God! It is amazing to think that as hard as the religious leaders tried to put Jesus in a tomb and keep him there, they could not. He rose and the truth of the gospel spread quickly throughout the Roman world. This was not a made up story. The tomb was empty!

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