Jesus is dead, and his body is buried. Out of fear that some of his fanatic followers would steal his body and say, “He is risen!” the Roman authorities seal the grave and post guards to protect the tomb (Matthew 27:64).
Two days after they watched Jesus die, two women named Mary come to his grave. One is his mother, the other was one of his ministry’s supporters whom he drove seven demons out of (Luke 8:2).
Without warning, an earthquake strikes and an angel appears, opening the tomb (Matthew 28:2). At this, the soldiers guarding the tomb faint but the women don’t.
The angel tells the women that Jesus isn’t there. He has risen, just as he promised. The women are invited to investigate the tomb to make sure it’s empty. Then the angel tells them to go and tell the disciples so that all of them can meet up with Jesus in Galilee (Matthew 28:7).
The women take off to find Jesus’ disciples only to run into Jesus! They throw themselves at his feet and being to worship (Matthew 28:9).
The disciples head for Galilee where they find Jesus. At this reunion, Jesus gives a new mission to his followers. They are now going to travel all over the world, telling all nations about Jesus (Matthew 28:19).
Matthew’s gospel ends with this final charge from Jesus, including a promise to his disciples: he will be with them forever (Matthew 28:20).
Why is this good news?
We see good news in how easily God overpowers the authorities of this world. Not even the Roman empire could stop God’s power. Their power, of course, was nothing compared to the authority which the grave wielded over all humanity.
Nevertheless, death’s stronghold, made “secure” by a heavy stone, is easily rolled away by the power of God. Jesus is Lord of all, King of Kings, and his resurrection proves that there is no authority greater than his (Matthew 28:18).
The angel of the Lord and Jesus say the same thing: Do not be afraid (Matthew 28:10). Those words were never more applicable than at the empty tomb of Jesus. Through faith in Jesus, Christians do not have to live in fear anymore. Because of the resurrection, death has lost its power. The curse that came on the whole earth after Adam and Eve’s fall in the Garden of Eden, has finally been conquered (Genesis 2:17). Death and decay have been defeated.
On top of that, we can trust that because Jesus rose, someday we will rise, too (Romans 6:5). There is life beyond the grave, and Jesus is our living proof.
The resurrection had the disciples in equal measure baffled and worshipful (Matthew 28:17). But Jesus gives even more good news when he caps off his commission to them with these words: “Surely I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20).
They weren’t just sent by Jesus; they were sent with Jesus. They would leave Jerusalem filled with the same power that raised Jesus from the dead: God’s Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8). The good news is that while we may not be able to see and touch the resurrected Lord, we can live with his resurrected Spirit inside us, comforting and empowering us to carry out the work of sharing this good news and making disciples.
See for yourself.
May the Holy Spirit open your eyes to see the God who raises the dead to life. And Jesus as the risen King with all authority.