He Is Risen1 Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other womenwith them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. 2 But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. 3 Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. 5 Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, 7 saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’”
8 And they remembered His words. 9 Then they returned from the tomb and told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them, who told these things to the apostles. 11 And their words seemed to them like idle tales, and they did not believe them. 12 But Peter arose and ran to the tomb; and stooping down, he saw the linen cloths lying by themselves; and he departed, marveling to himself at what had happened.
I cannot imagine what it must have been like to wake up on that Sunday morning and to start the day knowing that the man you thought was your saviour was dead and buried. No point denying the evidence you had watched him being crucified on the Friday and you saw Jesus die. Had you been conned? How could he be the promised saviour when he had just been killed like a common criminal?
It is easy for us to look back and know the end. We read of the crucifixion in a way that takes away from the shock because we know how it ends. We know Jesus is going to rise from the dead and it takes away from the shock of what has happened. Jesus, God's only son, has just died!
This is the situation that these women were in. They were going to the tomb to prepare Jesus body permanently for being buried. He had been put into the tomb quickly to get it done before the sabbath. Now it needed to be done permanently because Jesus is dead!
Firstly they find the stone rolled away and they go inside and find Jesus body has gone! Now what were they thinking at the time? Already stricken with grief having watched the saviour die they find body gone. Were they thinking Grave robbers?
Secondly they find two angels and the sight of this terrifies them.
Thirdly what the angels tell them must have been possibly the most stunning revelation in history. To put it in my own words it goes something like this:
Ladies why are you looking for a living man in a grave? The one you are looking for is alive just like he told you he would be.
If you are reading this for the first time as a story it is utterly shocking. How can he be alive? We saw him die? But it is not a story it is the truth and the key to our salvation. Without the resurrection we have no hope of resurrection.
How must those women have felt? From the depths of despair suddenly hope! Jesus is alive!