He is not here – he has risen! Matthew 28:1-10

Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed!
It was dawn when the two Marys went to the tomb to anoint Jesus’s body. Nobody could have imagined what they would find. The stone sealing the entrance had been rolled away. The tomb was empty. And then there was an even greater surprise. An angel appeared to them
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.
This is the heart of the Easter message and the heart of the Christian faith. 6 He is not here; he has risen!
Jesus had died on the cross for the sins of the world. But death could not hold him. God the Father raised Jesus back to life again by the power of the Holy Spirit. Didn’t he used to be dead. Jesus is no longer dead. He is alive forevermore.
The women were afraid. No surprise there. Almost every time when angels appear, people are afraid! And almost every time the angel has to say, “Don’t be afraid.” But that was not the most scary thing to happen on that morning. The message the angel brought was even more terrifying. Because there has been a universal truth through all of human history – dead people stay dead. Occasionally by God’s power there have been very rare exceptions to prove the rule. Jesus had brought Lazarus back to life again. But the general principle still holds – dead people stay dead. Jesus did not! God raised Jesus back to life again. Almighty God broke into history and turned the ordinary way of things upside down. No wonder the women were scared. If the event of the resurrection of Jesus Christ does not fill us with awe and wonder and at least a little bit of the fear of God then we just haven’t understood the enormity of what took place on that Easter morning.
But the women were also filled with joy. No surprise there either. They were so happy that Jesus their Rabbi and their friend was not dead but alive. But more than that, the resurrection demonstrated that Jesus’s death on the cross had been an acceptable sacrifice for sin. Sins could be forgiven and the barrier of sin separating human beings from Almighty God had been removed. The curtain in the Temple which kept mere mortals out of the Most Holy Place where God was especially present had been torn in two from top to bottom. And even more than that, the resurrection of Jesus from the dead had opened heaven to all believers. Jesus would share his victory over death with all his disciples. Because he lives, we will live also! No wonder the women were filled with joy.

And then the Risen Jesus himself appeared to the women. And they worshipped him. And that was entirely appropriate. The only one worthy of our worship is Almighty God. And by rising from the dead, Jesus proved to the whole world that he is indeed the Son of God, God the Son. When Jesus appeared to his disciples, the apostle Thomas would also recognize this truth and proclaim, “My Lord and my God.” On the Day of Pentecost Peter preached in Acts 2:32 “God raised Jesus from the dead, and we are all witnesses of this. Now he is exalted to the place of highest honor in heaven, at God’s right hand. The apostle Paul wrote in Romans 1:4 that Jesus “was shown to be the Son of God when he was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
The resurrection proves that Jesus is indeed the Son of God, the Son, King of Kings and Lord of Lords! No wonder the women worshipped Jesus.
So let us celebrate on this Easter Day. Jesus our Saviour is risen from the dead. May we respond with awe and wonder at the greatest miracle in history. May we be filled with joy as we receive the wonderful salvation Jesus has accomplished for us. May we bow down and worship – for Jesus is our Lord and our God. Thine be the glory, risen conquering son. Endless is the victory thou o’er death hast won! Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed!

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