Vol. 3, No. 4
The greatest of all the miracles associated with the life of Jesus is his resurrection from the dead. Jesus himself said that this would be his ultimate miracle in Matthew 12:39 and 16:4 when he told the Jews that the sign that he would show them would be that of the prophet Jonah. He went on to say that as Jonah was three days and nights in the belly of the whale, so the Son of Man would be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. No story of the life of Christ could be complete that does not tell of his resurrection from the new tomb of Joseph.
One of the sources we have of the resurrection of our Lord from the grave is found in the 28th chapter of the Book of Matthew. Here we have recorded the story of the great earthquake and an angel of the Lord descending from heaven. After arriving upon the earth, this great angel rolled the stone back from the door of the tomb and sat upon it. He is described as being as white as snow and having a countenance like lightning. What a sight that must have been to have seen! This creature from heaven, more beautiful than anything any of us have seen came to testify regarding the empty tomb of Jesus.
It is no wonder that the Sacred Volume records that the guards who had been appointed to keep watch on the tomb of the Lord shook for fear of the angel and became like dead men. They were simply paralyzed with fear! We have tried to imagine what that scene was like and with what beauty the earth was filled, but our feeble minds fail to comprehend all the grandeur of that occasion. As far as we know the angel spoke not a word to the guards, but he did have a message for the women who had come to anoint the body of Jesus with the sweet spices which they had collected. It seems to me that this message was very significant in that it began with the admonition that the women were not to be afraid because the angel knew that they had come to seek Jesus who had been crucified. He then continued his message to the women in these words: "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"(Matthew 28:6-7).
You will notice in the above quotation that we have emphasized four important words from the command which the angel gave to the women who came to the tomb of Jesus. Those words were: come, see, and go, tell. The angel wanted the women to witness for themselves that the tomb was empty. He did not ask them to take his word for it, but invited them to come and see that the Master had certainly resurrected from the tomb. These women were the first "eyewitnesses" of the fact that the tomb was empty. Jesus had not, as yet, made an appearance to any of these gracious women, but they could testify that the tomb in which the body of the Lord had been lain was empty, and that his body was no longer to be found among the dead!
After they had seen that the tomb was empty, they were to go and tell the news of the empty tomb to the disciples of the Lord. Of course, Mary Magdalene, and that other Mary were disciples of the Lord, but the angel had reference to those male disciples who would afterward become the apostles of Christ. These women were to tell the disciples that Jesus had risen from the dead and that he was going ahead of them into Galilee where they would see him just as he had promised them. These women ran from the tomb to bring the news of the resurrection of Christ to his disciples.
One could almost envy these women who had the privilege of being the first to see the empty tomb, and the first to carry the message of that empty tomb to the disciples of our Lord. Yet, there is a very real sense in which we can duplicate the efforts of these noble women in the time in which we are living. There are hundreds of millions of people who have never heard the story of the resurrection of Jesus. These people are scattered all over the world, and in all probability some of them are living in the very communities in which we are living. Since the empty tomb is a part of the Gospel of Christ, as Paul stated in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, we too, can come to the Scriptures and see the empty tomb and then go and tell those who are in need of salvation that the tomb is empty. Because Jesus is no longer in the tomb, he is able to save those to the uttermost who will come to God by him. This miracle of miracles proves beyond all doubt that Jesus is the Son of God, and that he was also God incarnate in human flesh, and that as such the resurrected Lord always lives to save the lost from sin and make intercession for those who are saints. Let us repeat the message of the angel and tell the world that Jesus is the only religious leader who is not in his tomb, but that he is risen for our salvation.