Scripture Focus: Matthew 28.2-8
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.”
8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples.
Reflection: Guards Shook, Women Sent
By John Tillman
In the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus could have called a legion of angels to defend himself from the guards. He did not do so. He even put a stop to Peter’s sword and healed the damage Peter dealt.
In the garden of the tomb, a single angel came down bringing an earthquake with him. Just as Jesus didn’t need angels to defeat guards in Gethsemane, he didn’t need an angel to defeat the guards securing the garden tomb. However, the guards froze in fear and fell like dead men.
Standing in front of Lazarus’s tomb, Jesus called for men to remove the tomb’s stone. The crowd expected the stench of death to emanate. Instead, Lazarus emerged, still wrapped in the bindings of the grave. Jesus ordered Lazarus set free of the bindings that still restricted him.
At the garden tomb, the angel moved the stone but it wasn’t so Jesus could hop to the exit like Lazarus. He didn’t need the angel to set him free from the bindings of the grave.
The purpose of the angel wasn’t to resurrect Jesus or to set him free by moving the stone or cutting off his grave clothes. Jesus was already free of the grave’s binding power. The grave clothes were already set aside. The tomb wasn’t opened to let Jesus walk out but to let the witnesses look in. The angel wasn’t there to incapacitate the guards but to commission the women. The guards were shook. The women were sent.
The guards’ mission to prevent fraud (“Stop his followers from stealing his body.”) became a fraud! (“Say that his followers stole the body while you slept.”) The women entered the garden mourning death’s victory and left announcing death’s defeat.
We may feel like the women at times. We may feel weak, ignored, and emotionally drained. When we do, simply remember that the women were chosen to carry the message and empowered to do so. We are similarly chosen and similarly commissioned.
The grave was opened and the message was passed so that we can also be witnesses. We are still carrying the message Jesus gave to the women: “Go and tell my brothers…they will see me.” (Matthew 28.10) Go tell your brothers and sisters, “He is alive.”
Divine Hours Prayer: The Refrain for the Morning Lessons
Deliverance belongs to the Lord. Your blessing be upon your people! — Psalm 3.8
– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle.
Exodus 17 (Listen 2:30)
Matthew 28 (Listen 2:39)
Read more about God of the Weak and Doubtful
They were incredulous. They did not trust their eyes that saw or their hands that touched. They couldn’t believe it.
Read more about Ladies First—Resurrection Appearances
Like the women, we will be doubted. But let us still run and tell, “I have seen the Lord!”