Matthew 28:1–7 (NIV84)
28 After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
2 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. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”
Jesus was dead. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary knew that quite well because they had been there and watched as he took his final breath upon the cross. They knew that Jesus was dead and so they had gotten up early to walk through the still cool and dark air to go and prepare Jesus’ lifeless body as it lay in its final resting place. Jesus was dead and so they were going to the tomb where he lay.
As they drew near to the tomb that dark air turned bright, brighter than any dawn, as an angel announced that the women had no reason to fear because Jesus was alive. This angel invited them to look into the tomb and see the place where Jesus used to lay. The angel invites those women to come forward and look at where they expected Jesus to be and see nothing was there. Jesus had risen and the tomb was forever empty.
Jesus is alive. He conquered sin and death and so there was no reason for him to be in the tomb. The angel told the women that Jesus had gone ahead into Galilee and that they should go there too with his disciples. In Galilee, they would see him with their own eyes. They would see him walking and talking and eating because Jesus is alive.
If Jesus does not come back first, there will be a day for each of us when, like Jesus, we will take our final breath. Like Jesus, though, death will not be our final place. Our tombs also will be empty because Jesus will make us alive. And then we, like Jesus’ disciples, will see him. Not in Galilee but around the throne of God forever and ever.
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went looking for Jesus among the dead but he was not there. Jesus had risen and was alive and Mary Magdalene and the other Mary would see him. Jesus is alive and we also will see him.
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, you raised your Son Jesus from the dead. As certainly as Jesus lives, give us faith in you to believe that we also will live. Amen.