Matthew 28:1-10 (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. 9 And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”
Early in the morning, the two women who watched all that happened to Jesus went back to his tomb. After another giant earthquake, an angel appeared. This angel rolled back the stone protecting the entrance to the tomb, and he sat right on the giant rock. The angel was striking in presence, and the mighty Roman guards were terrified. Paralyzed with fear, they fell to the ground like dead men. The angel spoke to both Marys, telling them Jesus’ body was no longer present. Just as Jesus had promised, he had risen from the dead! The angel rolled away the stone so the women could gaze inside. He asked them to look in the tomb and see with their own eyes. These were the same women who watched Joseph of Arimathea put Jesus’ dead body in that tomb and then close it with the stone. (There was no point in wasting time at an empty tomb.) The angel encouraged them to rush back and let the other disciples know that Jesus was no longer there. He was going to meet them “back home” in Galilee. As the women ran, Jesus showed up! They fell down at his feet and worshipped him as God.
The angel from heaven encouraged the women not to be afraid (v. 5), and Jesus encouraged them not to be afraid as well (v. 10)! Both the angel and Jesus personally comforted these women. In the first century, women were not considered to have the same worth as men, yet this angel, and Jesus, appeared to them before the other disciples! These women stayed by Jesus at the cross, they followed when he was placed in the tomb, and they got up early to get back to his place of burial. These two women were on the front lines for Jesus, and he chose to show himself in his resurrected state to them first! What about you? Do you ever feel like you aren’t in on all the action when it comes to God’s work? Do you feel like you don’t experience his presence or power? Maybe you haven’t been out on the front lines of ministry. If these women had been home watching TV, they would not have been the very first to see Jesus. Let’s choose to get off the couch today and get involved in what God is doing here on earth. You never know what he will do next.