"He is not here; he has risen… (Matt. 28:6)
All the many chapters of Jesus' suffering! We hear about all of the pain, all the offenses, all the cruelty, all the indignities, all the lies, and all the loneliness. Matthew easily filled 27 chapters of details.
But then comes Chapter 28…!
Darkness turns to light! "...at dawn the first day of the week." Angels are at the grave. An empty grave! Peace. Quiet. Elsewhere in the land is the risen Savior. His mind is on his followers. Light and glory!
We will never fully comprehend the riches of the resurrection. The amazing situation! How high and mighty the Roman military had seemed. The Jewish Council totally in charge.
But suddenly, quietly, there is an angel! And then there is another one. The soldiers look on, not comprehending. They’re bewildered, then in mortal fear. And "they became as dead men..."(Matt. 28:4).
The angels will have just watched for a moment; an amazingly novel situation. And then they rolled the stone away. Don't underestimate the strength of angels. But note that Jesus had already stepped forth from the grave. The angels were concerned that spectators could ascertain that the grave was empty. The best thing the rock could do was to serve as an angelic throne.
In the Heidelberg Catechism, L.D. 17, we confess that the resurrection is very much part of our lives as believers. "....by his power, we too are already now resurrected to a new life." We walk with him, talk with him, obey him, read about him, tell about him, praise him, worship him, and are suffused by him. That and much more, is how we live the resurrection life. That's what makes this Resurrection Sunday very special.
Note that the followers of Jesus are huddled together in a house in Jerusalem, filled with fear. It took a lot of heavenly coaxing before they marched with the gospel. But once they did, they shook the foundations of the Roman Empire.
And so it is today. What barriers we face. How fear can paralyze. But we point each other to the risen Lord. Today and always. The angels returned to heaven but they never remained far.