He is Risen! (Matthew 28:1-7)
“Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came 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 from the door, and sat on it. His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. And the guards shook for fear of him and became like dead men. But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay, and go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead. And indeed, He is going before you into Galilee. There you will see Him. Behold I have told you.”
We can imagine how long the Sabbath day must have felt for these friends of Jesus. After His crucifixion they had no choice but to stay at home doing nothing until the new day dawned (because of the Sabbath day laws). Perhaps they were too grief stricken to pray or even sleep, running out at the first light of day to the tomb of the One they loved. However, they did not arrive at the tomb a moment too soon; they were just in time to witness a mighty earthquake and the arrival of an angel from Heaven! This was not a little cherub with tiny wings and a harp! It was a great big angel from the Lord whose very entrance shook the bedrock of the earth. He rolled back the stone from the entrance to the tomb and sat on it. This was not a small stone. It is described in Mark 16:4 as a ‘large’ stone, and the ladies who came to the tomb had to look ‘up’ at it. It was too big for 3 ladies to roll away together (Mark 16:3). Historians say it was common for people to roll stones against the entrances of tombs, and these were big rounded rocks that were too big for a few men to move together. They were probably around 1 ½ to 2 tons in weight!
It is interesting that the guards shook for fear, and fainted away, while the ladies may have been scared to see his size and the dazzling brightness of his face, but they spoke to him, probably asking him who he was and what he was there for. He answered them by telling them not to be afraid, and that he knew they were there seeking Jesus. Let us focus on what the angel said to the ladies and receive the message our Father God has for us today.
1) The angel said “He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Jesus had told His friends that He would rise again the third day but they had not really understood, or believed Him. When they faced these days of grief, they did not recall His words and take strength and peace in them, and believe that He was coming back in victory. Today He asks you to remember those things which He has said to you in months or years past. You may have thought they were never coming to fulfillment but they will be manifested in your life when you believe and expect to receive! If Jesus has spoken, His word cannot fail. What He promised is already yours and just waiting for you to walk into it in faith.
2) The angel also said: “He is not here”, and “Come, see the place where the Lord lay.” The Word of Jesus is backed with the proof of His actions. He told His disciples that He would rise again from the grave, and now the empty tomb was proof enough. The empty tomb is the foundation of our faith and the reality of our hope. He rose again as He said and is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Father in Heaven! If He told His disciples He would rise again and then He did, we can believe His Words to us too, and know that they are all meant to come to pass.
3) “Go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead.” One of the purposes of miracles is that we share our testimonies with other people and bring them into the experience of the same love and power of God the Father. Revelations 19:10 tells us that the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy. When we share what Jesus has been doing in our lives, it increases the faith of other people and prepares them to believe for the same miracle of God. The close friends of Jesus were sad and discouraged, and needed to hear this good news. It is good to share ‘quickly’ what God is doing in our lives, because we share what is fresh and current, and open ourselves to more of the same, stirring not only the faith of another, but our own faith as well.
4) The angel also said: “He is going before you into Galilee”. These ones who loved the Lord were feeling lost and confused. They had thought they would be great people in His Kingdom but here they were grieving for their slain leader and teacher, and not knowing what the future held or what they were supposed to do. The ladies were told by the angel that Jesus was going ahead of them into Galilee. He had a plan and a purpose, and He would guide and instruct His disciples when they met. Friend, the Lord is streets ahead of you and me! We need to stop worrying about what tomorrow holds and focus on Him. All the answers that we need are in Him. He has gone ahead of us. He is over all of time and space. There is nothing impossible with God, and no situation He cannot change, no mess He cannot mould back into something beautiful. He makes all things new! (Revelations 21:5).
• Dear friend, the enemy may have rolled stones against your freedom, health, calling and relationship with God. He thought he stopped you loving and worshipping the King of kings but he was wrong!
• Our mighty Warrior, Jehovah Adonai is sending angels to move all the hindrances out of the way and bring you into your Resurrection blessing. Whatever difficulty you are experiencing in your life right now, you are a prime candidate for a miracle. Jesus has gone before you to make the way; He took every sin and sickness upon His body so that we do not have to carry them. He rose from the grave so that we could have the victory and not be destroyed by the enemy. He is shaking the earth as He comes to your rescue (Job 9:6). He is rebuking leaders and oppressors on your behalf (Psalm 105:14) and rebuking the devourer (Malachi 3:11) who came to steal kill and destroyer. Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:25) and has come to give us life in abundance, hallelujah!
• Believe His Words for you; see the proof of His promises in the empty tomb and in His life filled Word; share with others the goodness of God in your life, and trust Him – He has gone before you to Galilee (or whatever it is you are believing for!) I join my faith with yours and believe for your miracle. As you seek Him and love Him and put your trust in Him, may the resurrection power of Jesus fill your heart and life, and may all your hearts desires be fulfilled, in Jesus’ mighty name, Amen! (Psalm 37:4).
Minoli Haththotuwa, 09 April 2012
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