“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.”
Matthew 28:2-4, NIV
The attempt by the Romans to secure the tomb by putting a seal on the stone and posting a guard seems laughable! The angels were not at all afraid of breaking a Roman seal (for which the earthly punishment would have been death), or of the guards who were protecting the body of Jesus. The angels had a much higher authority than Rome and all the power in the Universe was at their disposal. No wonder the traumatised soldiers were so shocked by the experience that they were stunned and looked like dead men.
This was the event that transformed history – and like a magnifying glass, which can be used to focus the rays of the sun and set fire to a piece of paper, the magnifying glass of eternity focused the power of the Almighty Creator God on a few square metres of Israeli rock – and the result changed the world for both time and eternity and set the world ablaze!
“Do not be afraid,” the angel said to the two Marys, who had come to look at the tomb, “for I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.” I would love to see how today’s TV reporters would have vied with each other to get an exclusive scoop as they interviewed the women, as they returned to tell the disciples the utterly sensational news.
It was news that stunned the small group of heart-broken disciples and the ever-widening circle of people who were discovering what had happened. It was news that under the transforming power of the Holy Spirit was to transform Simon Peter into the evangelist who told the world at Pentecost exactly what had happened. It was news that has transformed the lives of countless millions of believers down the centuries. And it is news that, today, can transform your life and mine with the living Christ in our hearts and lives.
And soon there will be another event which will shake not just a piece of rock in Jerusalem, but the whole of the planet as Jesus, accompanied by a host of angels returns as King to call to himself for eternity all those who have been redeemed through the shedding of his blood at Calvary. In Christ we have nothing to fear – what a day of rejoicing this is as we say Thank You, Lord – and then look forward to the great day that’s yet to come.
Prayer: Thank You, Father God, for raising your Son from the dead. Thank You, Jesus for being willing to die that we might live. Thank you Holy Spirit for setting the church ablaze with the presence and the fire of God. On this Easter Sunday, I choose to worship You with everything I am – bless the Lord, O my soul – everything within me will praise His Holy Name. In the name of Jesus, my Lord. Amen.