After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. 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. 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.” So 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.” — Matthew 28:1-10:
On this beautiful passage of hope I borrow from Dr. Charles Stanley and his daily devotional from InTouch magazine who writes these thoughts:
Think about a time when your heart was broken because your expectations were dashed and your world fell apart. That is exactly what happened to the women who came to Jesus’ tomb. They had put all their hopes in Him as Israel’s promised Messiah and had given Him their love and devotion. Now He was dead. Can you imagine the sudden change in their emotions and outlook when an angel told them He had risen? Hope sprang to life again. Even though this event happened almost 2,000 years ago, the empty tomb still holds a message for us. Like these women, we can be dramatically changed when we consider the ramifications of Christ’s resurrection. It should affect how we live from this day onward.
Jesus’ resurrection proves that there is life after death. So many people today think that earthly existence is all there is. But this belief robs life of purpose and meaning. God created us as eternal souls, and Jesus demonstrated that death is not the end–much more awaits us. The empty tomb also gives us hope and dispels our fears about death. We have One who has gone before us and shown us what’s ahead. Those who trust Him as their Savior will be resurrected to new life just as He was.
None of us know what day the Lord will call our name, signaling the end of our earthly life. Yet we do know that He has promised to prepare a place in heaven for us: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” — John 14:1-3
Death is not the end, my friends, but the beginning of the greatest adventure of our lives—going home to be with Jesus. Maranatha!