#11: He is Alive!
(Matthew 27:62-28:15, Mark 16:1-14, 19, Luke 24:1-12, John 20:1-25)
Sunday, very early in the morning, the 18th of Nisan
One of the Roman soldiers guarding the tomb complains,
“What a pointless assignment!”
“I know,” another answers, “Watch the tomb of a dead man to make sure no one steals the body”.
“But at least it is easy work.”
First, an official from Rome went into Jesus’ tomb and examined Jesus’ body and made sure it was the body of Jesus and that he was really dead. Obviously, it would be stupid to guard an empty tomb or the tomb with the wrong body in it, and then to be blamed for the disappearance of Jesus’ body. So after the examination was made, soldiers rolled the huge stone back in place to make sure the grave was secure and sealed properly with the official Roman seal.
This was done because the chief priests appealed to Pilate, “This imposter told his disciples that he would be raised from the dead after three days. We request that you order guards to be stationed at his tomb for three days so his disciples will not steal the body and then claim he came back to life.” So Pilate sent soldiers to guard the tomb 24 hours a day. Every three hours, the shift would change and four rested soldiers would watch the tomb.
The four guards on duty this early Sunday morning are bored. But suddenly the ground begins to move and shake under them. The tremors increase, jolting them and knocking them off their feet. A bright light descends from above and flashes about the tomb. An enormous angel of God, whose face shines like lightning, appears before them. He is dressed in white clothes and is far larger than a man. The guards tremble with fear.
But the angel’s attention is not focused on them, but on the several hundred-pound boulder sealing the tomb. With ease he grabs the massive stone and rolls it to one side. Then he sits on it. The guards are paralyzed with fear. In a couple of minutes, they gather their strength to pick themselves up and run. After the angel rolls the stone aside, the Prince of abundant life and eternal life walks through the doorway of the tomb, emerging victorious over death!
A little later some women believers in Jesus make their way to the tomb, bringing spices to anoint his body. As they reach the tomb, they notice the huge stone which covered the door is rolled to the side!
Alarmed by this, they rush inside to look. They are stunned to find that the body of Jesus is missing! But an angel in white clothes appears to them and two other angels stand by in dazzling clothes. The first angel, the one who had rolled away the stone and sat on it, asks them, “Why are you looking for the living among the dead? I know who you are looking for - Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen! Come and look at the place where he laid. Don't you remember him telling you, ‘The Son of Man will be delivered to sinful men, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again’?” Then the women remember what Jesus predicted. The angel continues, “Go quickly and tell his disciples that he arose from the dead and that they will see him later in Galilee.”
As the women rush to tell the apostles, Jesus meets them and exhorts them with, “Rejoice!” (Matthew 28:9) Then they worship him, as written:
Messianic Prophecy Fulfilled:
(Given 1050 B. C.)
“Because He is your Lord, worship Him”
(Psalm 45:11b, NKJV).
Comment: Many more things happened on this resurrection day that are recorded in the gospels and that I included in my Life of Jesus Foretold book that I do not have room to put in a short devotional. I love the first word that Jesus spoke to these women the first time they saw him after his resurrection: “Rejoice!” We Christians can think of so many reasons to rejoice because Jesus is alive and because of the many things he accomplished for us through his sacrificial death and resurrection. Because He lives, we live in Him today and we will live eternally. Let us make this a day of rejoicing and telling others about His love. How many reasons can you think of to rejoice because Jesus has risen?