Matthew 28:1-8 – “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. 2 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. 3 His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. 4 And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men.
5 But the angel answered and 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 is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. 7 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.”
8 So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word.” NKJV
Imagine the scene at the sealed tomb on that eventful day. The Roman soldiers assigned to guard the tomb were, in all likelihood, unbelievers whose only concern was ensuring that the followers of Christ did not steal His body and perpetrate fraud upon the people. They were, as their superiors, convinced that the only way Jesus’ prophecy of rising again on the third day could even appear fulfilled was by His followers taking and hiding His body.
The disciples were perplexed; their Messiah was dead. Everything about that troubled them because they had been convinced, He had come to restore the kingdom to Israel, but now He was dead. The two Marys went to the tomb that morning with many questions nursing their disappointment and despair.
Matthew records that there was a great earthquake when they went, and an angel of God descended, rolling away the stone from the door and sitting on it. The angel’s countenance was like lightning, bringing terror to the guards’ hearts. The angel’s announcement to the two Marys was, “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….”
The angel brought them into the tomb to witness its emptiness of it. They then instructed them to go quickly to the other disciples and tell them that JESUS IS ALIVE! He further stated that He would go before them into Galilee, where they would see Him. The two Marys went quickly from the tomb with “FEAR and GREAT JOY.”
In many respects, that is precisely the condition we should live in following our LORD. Proverbs 9:10 instructs, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Proverbs 2:5, where the writer is speaking about God’s Words and Wisdom, tells us that as we mine out the nuggets of truth in the Word, we gain an understanding of the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God.
It is as we KNOW God that we both FEAR and LOVE Him! As we KNOW God and His WORD, we have a foundation to understand His purposes, promises, and provisions. As we KNOW Him, we understand the importance and impact of being God-fearing. It is reverential, but it is more than just respect. It is an understanding that He loves us unconditionally but is Holy and will judge sin unforgiven without favor.
The FEAR of God can and should bring Great Joy because it enables us to comprehend the choice between sin and salvation, heaven and hell, and life and death. The women went from the tomb with FEAR because His resurrection anchored their Hope that He was the Messiah and God. It produced Great Joy because, in that confidence, which brought trembling to their mortal minds, they could REJOICE that ALL HE SAID and PROMISED WAS REAL!
Every year about this time, I have someone seeking to argue that there is no biblical evidence or historic evidence for the Resurrection. That is wrong! You may believe that, and if you do, that is between you and God, but I know He Lives because He Lives in me. He saved me, and I was changed! I believe the biblical report and believe that He not only lives but is coming back for those of us who have received Him as Savior and Lord!
On this day of Celebration of His Resurrection, may we move forward with Holy Reverential Fear and Great Joy! May the richness of His presence, the power of His provision, and the permanence of His promises explode in your hearts today!
Happy Resurrection Day, and God bless!