April 27, 2011
“Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came early to the tomb, while it was still dark, and saw the stone already taken away from the tomb.”
The Post-Resurrection Ministry of Jesus
“The Angelic Announcement”
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In Mark 16:9, we read that Jesus first appeared to Mary Magdalene after His resurrection. The details of that appearance may be found in John 20:1-18. On the first day of the week, Sunday, early in the morning, a group of women went out to the tomb of Jesus to anoint His body (Mark 16:1). When they arrived, they saw the stone had already been rolled away. They expected to take care of a dead body, but instead they found a living Savior.
The Missing Guard. Early on Sunday morning after the crucifixion and burial, an earthquake struck the tomb area. That earthquake was caused by an angel of the Lord descending from heaven to the tomb. The angel’s appearance was like lightening, and his garment as white as snow (Matthew 28:1-3). When the soldiers saw him and what he had done, they shook for fear and became like dead men (Matthew 28:4). Later, some of the guards reported to the chief priests all that had happened at the tomb. Remember that the Pharisees had asked Pilate to post a guard to thwart any claims that Jesus had risen from the dead, and Pilate granted them a guard, and they made the grave secure and set a seal upon the tomb (Matthew 27:62-66). The Pharisees took the claim of Jesus concerning His resurrection after three days very seriously. Instead of insuring that Jesus stayed in the tomb, they actually provided excellent, independent witnesses that Jesus actually rose from the tomb, and an angel rolled away the stone. When the guards gave their report, the elders and congregation of the Jews paid the soldiers to lie and say the disciples stole the body away, and promised to intercede for them with the governor (Matthew 28:11-15). For the Pharisees, they had experienced their worst case scenario regarding the resurrection. They refused to believe the truth about Jesus, and concocted lies and a conspiracy of liars to publish a false story about the disciples stealing the body of Jesus, the very thing they did not want to happen. They were always spin masters, ignoring the truth to propagate a lie (Matthew 28:15).
The White Robed Man. When the women arrive at the tomb, they expected to find the large stone still covering the opening of the tomb. Instead, the women saw an angel who talked with women (John 20:1-10). Mary Magdalene came to the tomb, found it empty with the stone rolled away, and she ran and reported the news to Simon Peter and the disciple Jesus loved. Mary said: “They have taken way the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.” Notice that Mary Magdalene did not understand that Jesus had arisen, but she thought His body had been moved. So often in our lives we see all the spiritual facts, and assign a purely human explanation to God’s miraculous activity around us.
Angelic Words of Encouragement. God sent angels to announce the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the women first heard that wonderful proclamation from God: “He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said.” (Matthew 28:6). The angels also said: “Why do you seek the living One among the dead?” (Luke 24:5). We should take serious encouragement every day from that empty tomb and the angelic announcement of resurrection. Of course, many facts supported their claim, as if they needed any support. They spoke for God, and by His authority.
With Fear and Great Joy, They Reported. The women at the tomb left with fear and great joy to fulfill the command of the angel to go and tell His disciples and Peter that Jesus is going before them to Galilee, just as He promised, and they will see Him there (Mark 16:2-8 ; Luke 24:5-12). Peter received a special message because he had denied the Lord Jesus in a particularly public and profound way. Jesus sends special messages to special sinners, because He loves them always (Luke 22:31-34). We should always have that mix of fear and joy when we consider the wonderful power of the resurrection, and the tender mercies of God in raising Jesus from the dead, just for us. We should also be careful to proclaim His death until He comes again both in communion (1 Corinthians 11:26), and in our lives like the women did with the other disciples.
So we begin to learn about the Post-Resurrection Ministry of Jesus.
● The angels of God greeted the women looking for a body, but found an empty tomb.
● The angels reminded the believers that Jesus had told them He must suffer, die and be raised from the dead.
● The angels encouraged the women to go and tell the disciples of Jesus that He has risen and they would see Him in Galilee.
Application for Today
Today I want to go and tell everybody that Jesus Christ has risen from the dead. Having suffered and died on the cross, Jesus now lives in heaven and in my heart, to live forever within me. Will you be telling of the resurrection today?