Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdelene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 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. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. 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.”
So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and they will see me.”
After two days filled with grief, sorrow, and confusion—Sunday came. And with Sunday came the gospel—the glorious “good news”—indeed the greatest news ever proclaimed, “He is not here, for he has risen, as he said.”
The first to hear the news were a group of women; instead of a sealed tomb containing the body of Jesus, they discovered two angels and the stone rolled away. One angel told them of the resurrection and charged them to go tell the disciples. As they went, the women encountered the risen Jesus and worshiped him before he gave them a similar charge: go tell the disciples to meet him in Galilee.
Matthew’s Gospel records that the guards reported the events of the morning to the chief priests, who then began to spread the first conspiracy theory about the resurrection of Jesus—and they continue even to this day. Many people have tried to explain away the literal, bodily resurrection of Jesus—because no other historical event has so much resting on its truth or falsehood. The most important question in history is this: Did Jesus really come back to life? The answer to that question has implications that reach into every area of life, and ultimately, eternity.
If Jesus was not resurrected, we’re all fools to be pitied (1 Cor 15:19). But since Jesus did come back to life, that makes him exactly who he said he was! The Son of God who has authority over even life and death. Our Substitute, the Lamb who takes away our sin and satisfies God’s wrath. Our Great High Priest who makes intercession on our behalf forever. The One who controls history, rules the temple, and alone deserves our worship. Israel’s Messiah. The King who entered Jerusalem humbly, but now reigns over the whole universe as the eternal King of Glory!
Catch up on our 7-day Easter Devotional series: