Three Life Changing Announcements From the Empty Tomb

Most of you who are Sunday school teachers have been spending this week preparing your hearts and minds to teach about the resurrection of Jesus this Sunday.  Christ's resurrection is the cornerstone doctrine of our faith.  Paul says that without it we are without hope and still lost in our sin.  So the resurrection should be in our hearts and minds everyday, but especially this week we allow our minds to dwell on it more and we allow it's truth to penetrate our hearts more deeply.

At our church, most will be studying The Gospel of Matthew's account of the resurrection. It's in chapter 28:1-15.  The women arrive at the tomb and are immediately greeted with a great earthquake, and they witness an angel roll the stone barring their entry from in front of the tomb.  The angel is described as appearing like lightning and wearing a robe of pure white. But it's not the angel's appearance so much as his announcement that is jarring to the women.  I think there are 3 specific announcements  from the angel that have massive implications for us today.  So as you study this passage, dwell on these sayings and apply these truths to your own hearts as you teach them to your classes this Sunday.

1. "Don't be afraid" (v.5)

I can't imagine the fear that gripped these women as they saw this event unfold.  Add this to the fear that they already felt at being followers of Jesus.  They had just witnessed him crucified and being his followers may have assumed they were next.  As a matter of fact, the disciples were hiding in Jerusalem for fear that they would now be the target of the Pharisees and religious leaders. But the angel came to bring comfort.  These women had nothing to fear.  Their Lord was alive.

This rings true for us too.  1 John 4:18 says "There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear...".  The truth of the resurrection should calm our fears.  Our Savior lives, and His love is perfect.

2. "He is not here; He has risen!" (v.6)

After their initial shock, the angel told the women the reason they had nothing to fear.  The tomb was empty.  They had come to mourn the dead, but the one they were looking for was indeed alive. Just like the women, we too are invited to examine the empty tomb.  The empty tomb is the reminder that our Lord has defeated death and forever removed its sting.  Death is still a reality in this world, but for those who trust Jesus it no longer has the final say.  When the fear of death taunts us, "He is not here; He has risen" is our confident reply.

3. "You will see Him." (v.7)

Once the empty tomb was revealed to the women, the angel gave them a task. They were to  "tell the disciples, he has been raised from the dead...".  Not only were the women to reveal the reality of the empty tomb to the disciples, but they were to tell them that Jesus was going ahead of them to Galilee and there they would see Him.  It was an invitation to the disciples to come see the risen Lord in person.  This is a sweet reminder for us too.  Our whole purpose is to invite people to trust in and experience a risen Savior. Our Lord has gone ahead of us and is preparing a place for those who trust in Him.  The promise of His word to those who believe is "You will see Him."

Happy Easter.  He is Risen!

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