He is not here

Published 9:00 am Sunday, April 7, 2024

“Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. And behold there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door and sat on it. His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men. But the angel answered and said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 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 to Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.’ So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word.” — Matthew 28:1-8 (NKJV)


“… and sat on it.”

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Just four little words; yet these four little words convey to us a most powerful message containing multiple parts.

First of all, the angel rolled the stone away so that the world could see that it was empty; the angel spoke to the two Mary’s, but the empty tomb speaks to all who understand its significance. Jesus is risen as He said; if such an unimaginable prophecy from Jesus could come true, there should be no doubt of the veracity of all else of which Jesus spoke. If all that Jesus spoke is “yes and amen,” does it not follow that we are to be obedient to what He taught?

The angel sitting on the stone tells me that this action is not reversible, Jesus will never again be entombed, the sacrifice for the sins of mankind is complete, “It is finished.” With the vacant stone witnessing to the empty tomb,; we may understand that every obstacle has been removed that hinders our relationship with Jesus. The only thing between us and salvation is our own hard heart.

When the Mary’s heard the angel’s announcement that Jesus was risen, they literally ran to tell the other disciples. They ran to tell those who were interested in the “Good news.” We must first of all, tell those who want to hear; Christ is Risen, He is risen indeed!

The Rev. Bobby Thornhill is a retired pastor.