The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 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.” Matthew 28: 5 – 7
Easter Sunday has arrived. I awoke in the early morning hours and said a prayer of gratitude for the gift of this day. It is the day in which we celebrate our Lord and Savior’s glorious resurrection after His death on the cross. What a gift of love and sacrifice! What a story!
Scripture tells us that on this day, Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of James, brought burial spices to the tomb with which they could anoint Jesus’s body. As they neared the area, they were discussing how they could possibly remove the stone from the entrance.
Then surprisingly, they saw it had already been moved. As they entered and saw the empty tomb, their first thought must have been one of alarm, with fear that his body had been stolen. But the angel of the Lord quickly reassured them that this was not the case.
“Christ had risen! He was alive!” They hurried away, “afraid, yet filled with joy”, to tell the disciples the wonderful news.
But who should they meet along the way, but Jesus Himself! How they must have trembled and wept at the sight. Yet, surely now, they must have remembered His words, for He had often told the disciples and His followers that this day would come – that he would be put to death, but that He would arise to life once again in 3 days.
But to really see this risen Lord with your own eyes! Can you even imagine how difficult it would have been to believe, even if you saw Him – after the scene they had witnessed at the cross. What a sight to behold! What a glorious miracle of resurrection!
And yet this was an occurrence that happened more than 10 times over the next 40 days as Jesus appeared to the women, to His disciples, and many others before He ascended into heaven – before their very eyes again. He gave them ample opportunity to see that He had indeed risen from the grave. He conversed with them face to face. He let them touch Him, and they ate bread together. He was alive!
What a special day as we celebrate and praise our God for the blessings of life and for the gift of eternal life to come. Our hearts are full and we can be so grateful that we know this true Savior, Jesus Christ, and that we have the assurance of His love and presence always. This beautiful hymn, “Because He Lives” says it so well:
God sent His son. They called Him Jesus
He came to love heal and forgive
He lived and died to buy my pardon
An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives
(Chorus) Because He lives I can face tomorrow
Because He lives all fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living just because He lives
(Verse 2) How sweet to hold a newborn baby
And feel the pride and joy he gives
But greater still the calm assurance
This child can face uncertain days
Just because He lives
(Verse 3) And then one day I’ll cross the river
I’ll fight life’s final war with pain
And then as death gives way to victory
I’ll see the lights of glory and I’ll know He lives
Our Heavenly Father, thank you for your son, Jesus Christ – our Redeemer, our Savior, and our Lord. As we celebrate His life and death on this day, may we always be reminded of His loving sacrifice upon the cross and for the gift of eternal life with you. Amen.