The Earthquakes, An Angel Appears, Guards Shake, He is Risen

GodReflection: Share It Again

The quake of all earthquakes shook both Jerusalem and history on Friday. Holy Jesus died to cover the sin of the human race and to open the way for God to walk again with the likes of me and you. That was Friday.

Then Sunday’s quake placed an exclamation mark on Friday’s events with the resurrection of Jesus. Sunday’s quake declared DEATH LOST. Sunday’s earthquake announced LIFE WINS. God’s grace brings life for all who would follow the risen Lord.

Sunday’s quake came with Angelic assignments. Sunday’s quake reignited hope.

Before the light of Sunday morning, in the pitch blackness of the tomb, the dead Jesus awakes. Breath returns to his lifeless body. He sits up. He is alive. He removes the strips of cloth that wrap his arms and legs. The cloth that covered his head he places gently like a pillow on the stone slab.

With a new resurrected body, he exits through the doorway still sealed by a fifteen-hundred-pound stone six feet in diameter and six inches thick. He leaves the tomb closed. Scripture doesn’t record where he went.

I suspect he met with Father God as he often did in the early morning hours throughout his earthly ministry. They had been apart for three days—something that had never happened in their eternal relationship.

In the pre-quake dawn the Gospels tell of three women, Mary Magdalene, Jesus’ mother Mary, and a woman named Salome, on their way to the tomb.  They carried spices to express their sorrow. Mary lost her son. AND for all thee, the man they loved in life and “mistakenly” identified as Messiah is now dead. Their loss was enormous.

They watch from a distance the night before as Joseph and Nicodemus closes the tomb forever. They were aware of the closure and wonder aloud, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”

As Sunday dawned, sometime after sunrise God once again the earth shook.

There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men (Matthew 28:2-4).

The earthquake’s immediate result was threefold. The guards were paralyzed with fear. Seeing the power of quake and the sight of an angel they fainted and fell to the ground. The business at hand required a direct encounter between the angel and the women.

The angelic assignment was not for soldiers. It was a message from the living Jesus directed to the women. The angel meets with the women to renew the hope of friends and disciples who saw Jesus die. Likewise, it would create hope for all believers in the centuries to follow.

Second, Sunday’s quake set free the first resurrection. Friday’s quake broke open the tombs. Sunday’s quake raised the dead.

The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people (Matthew 27:52 and 53).

It was no less than the precursor to the resurrection all believers will experience. Heaven will come down so we can rise to live on perfect earth.

Third, Sunday’s quake opened the tomb for all to see in. Jesus is risen. Death and the tomb lost their hold on Jesus. He is now free to live again. The women must have been terrified to feel the earth shake as they heard the plates of the earth grind. The Holy had opened the tomb. The risen Lord empowered resurrection. Anyone could see—the tomb is empty.

When they arrive the door of the tomb is rolled back from the door and an angel is seated upon it. The Gospels don’t give his name. I can’t help but wonder if it might have been Gabriel who met with Mary thirty-three years before to announce the birth. This time the angel announced in kind reassurance:

“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).

As the women depart with their angelic assignment, their next encounter has to be the last thing they expected when they left their homes. This must have been an even greater surprise than the quake and the angel.

The women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me” (vs 8-10).

Two thousand years later because of the Sunday morning quake I join the women in worship of the risen Savior. I hope that Sunday quake will continue to send tremors to shake the foundations of my life. I need a constant reminder where to place my trust. It can only be placed in the risen Jesus. How about you, can’t we use this week on the Christian calendar designated as Holy Week to help us remember?

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection on The Earthquakes, An Angel Appears, Guards Shake, He is Risen.

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