Tag Archives: angel

Rolled Away

26 Apr

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Every year I learn something new from the Resurrection account.

Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Matthew 28:1-6

Come, see! How have I never seen it before?!?

The angel rolled the stone away. I’ve known that since I was a child.

Jesus didn’t need the tomb to be opened to get out! He was no longer bound by the physical.

I’ve just assumed (since I was a child) that the angel rolled away the stone to let Jesus out. But He isn’t mentioned – surely if the guards or the women had seen Him exit, the angel wouldn’t have needed to tell the women (the guards, being sturdy stock, missed it due to a fainting spell).

If Jesus was already gone from the tomb, why did the angel roll away the stone?

I have two ideas – neither have been checked out with experts, so I may be way off. However, for what they are worth, here are my ideas.

Heralding a King

When royalty came into a village, criers and guards went first announcing who would be coming down the road. The angel in Matthew 28 fulfills this role for The King – as do the (gasp!) women! God passes the Resurrection news from heavenly being to the ones who had come to honor His Son’s body with spices– culturally inferior messengers, much like the shepherds at His nativity.

Jesus came into the world and conquered death with an announcement from an angel. Fitting for The King!

Rolling Away

The angel makes sense, but what about the stone being rolled away? If Jesus was already gone, the most obvious reason is for others to go in.

My favorite line during our Easter program was from Mary Magdalene when a guard asks her if she had seen the empty tomb. With hushed awe she shares, “I walked inside it!”

The women, and later the disciples (and probably several guards and a commander, too) walked into the chamber where Jesus had lain dead– into the place where the world thought had death won and hope had died. What did they think about when they were inside it? Did they pick up His wrappings? Was it the same as before Jesus was laid there, or had the tomb been changed with the Resurrection?

And what went through their mind as they exited? Did the leave anything in the tomb?

Despair? Hate? Self-righteousness? Doubt?

God removed the barrier so they could go into the tomb– He accomplished the same when He ripped the veil in the temple– and see that he wasn’t a captive to death, that no power could keep him there.

And so we could shed all that confines us from seeing Him.

———-

Ready for Sunday

Imagining myself in the coolness of a stone tomb, slightly musty and very still, I pause, all my senses heightened. I don’t know if Mary took time that morning to take it all in and reflect on what the tomb represented, but two centuries later with 20/20 hindsight, I have the opportunity.

What blocks me from seeing Him?

I’m leaving those things in the pile of grave clothes, and walking out into the fresh morning, heart full and ready to worship.

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