After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the tomb. 2 Look, there was a great earthquake, for an angel from the Lord came down from heaven. Coming to the stone, he rolled it away and sat on it. 3 Now his face was like lightning and his clothes as white as snow. 4 The guards were so terrified of him that they shook with fear and became like dead men. 5 But the angel said to the women, “Don’t be afraid. I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. 6 He isn’t here because he’s been raised from the dead, just as he said. Come, see the place where they laid him. 7 Now hurry, go and tell his disciples, ‘He’s been raised from the dead. He’s going on ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there.’ I’ve given the message to you.”
8 With great fear and excitement, they hurried away from the tomb and ran to tell his disciples. 9 But Jesus met them and greeted them. They came and grabbed his feet and worshipped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Go and tell my brothers that I am going into Galilee. They will see me there” (Matthew 28:1-10, Common English Bible).
Fear is something very real. Many, perhaps it would be better to say most of us, and it might really be accurate to say ALL of us have our fears, something that insights terror within us. We may be someone who is able to overcome what we fear, we may be able to move beyond it, but we have our fears.
It would seem that everyone at Jesus’ tomb that day was full of fear. The guards are the first people Matthew talks about shaking in their boots (as it were). They were really afraid. Since they were responsible for the security of the tomb, and because people died for less in those days, who can blame them for being afraid.
As for the women on their way to the tomb, it had been an emotional few days. They saw a man they personally knew executed because of the fear of others. They came to the tomb and experienced an earthquake, the stone was rolled away and this guy whose face shined like lightning and his clothes were as white as snow who was telling them not to be afraid. It is probably safe to say, it was a little late.
The only one on the scene that doesn’t seem to be afraid is the angel. Why would the angel be afraid? The angel is the only one present who knows the whole story.
There, at least to me, is the key. The angel knew the who story and therefore was not afraid. When we know how things are going to work out, there is no reason for us to fear. Our fear is in our ignorance.
The guards feared because they didn’t know where Jesus was and that they would be responsible. Fear was in the unknown. The women didn’t know who the angel was or what had happened to Jesus’ body. The fear was in the unknown.
Today, we who believe, have the real knowledge. We have the answer to life’s most important question, we overcome death through faith in Jesus Christ. That says to me, we of all people, have no reason to fear.
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Joy and Thankfulness,
Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved