After His horrific crucifixion and agony on the cross Jesus rose three days later, on the Feast of First Fruits. And what a glorious event as well as a future promise that is! Jesus was to be the “first fruits” of many, meaning we, too, who believe in Him will experience resurrection life not only here on earth as Jesus brings us into new life with Him, but in the eternal world to come. It is also a type and shadow of the rapture, a future event when we will be transported from the earth and changed in a twinkling of an eye to be forever with our Lord.
The resurrection left a tomb empty of Jesus, but left several symbols for the believer to see. Going from Matthew to Mark to Luke to John we get a good picture of what followed when, first, two women, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James go to the tomb. There is an earthquake as an angle of the Lord comes from Heaven to roll back the stone, then sits on it (Matthew 28:2). That tells us this is an earth shaking God event. No human hands had a part in it. Even so, the tomb was already empty. The rolling away of the stone was for our benefit, to show the world that Jesus had already risen. And with the angel sitting on the stone, the tomb would forever be symbolically open for all to see the truth should they chose to. Nothing or no one could ever put Jesus back into that tomb.
Even so, a lie was already hatching. When “some of the watch” meaning some of the Roman sentries who were stationed to stand guard over Jesus’ tomb, came before the chief priests and elders and told them what happened, they were given money and a promises of protection if they spread the rumor that Jesus’ disciples had stolen His body while the guards were sleeping. Now sleeping on duty was a capital offense punishable by death. But the guards took the money and did what they were told. Since that day to this there have always been lies told about Jesus, who He is, what He did, etc. All to keep people from understanding the truth.
Mark tells us that three women, which includes Salome and the two mentioned by Matthew, entered the tomb. Here they see a young man in a long white splendid garment sitting on the right. That word “long” in the Greek is ‘makros” and means distant in time or place and is derived from “megas” which means “exceedingly great.” I believe the women were seeing into a distant time and dimension and seeing Jesus sitting at the right hand of God the Father.
Luke goes on to talk about two men standing by the women in the tomb in shining garments. Judging by their magnificent clothing these men were not mere men but angles. That word “shining” in Greek, implies flashes like lightening and the Greek word for “garments” suggests they are grand governmental robes. Also that word “stood” means to stand upon, be present, but it also means superimposed, indicating a supernatural quality. So here we have two angels who appear to the women in a supernatural way, like flashes of lighting and in robes suggesting they have come in power and authority. But why have they come? In Jewish law, the testimony of two or three witness was required to verify a fact. And what fact did they come to verify? Their own words tell us: “Why seek ye the living among the dead? He (Jesus) is not here, but is risen.” (Luke 24:5-6) These angels served as witnesses that Jesus had risen just as He said He would.
Finally in John we see a most wonderful symbol. There in John 20:12 Mary Magdalene looks into the tomb and sees “two angels in white sitting there, one at the head and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.” What a beautiful picture of the mercy seat in the Jewish Temple with the two golden angels on each end. It was over the mercy seat that the High Priest, each year, poured the sacrificial blood of a spotless lamb, to atone for sins. Jesus, our atonement, whose blood was surely all over that slab of stone on which the two angels sat, has, once and for all, paid the penalty for our sins. There will never be any need for another sacrifice for sin. “It is finished,” and remains only for us to claim it.
Until next time,