Jesus Lives—and You Can Too
The Gospel writers don’t give a lot of details about the resurrection of Jesus. The fact of the resurrection overshadows the details of how it happened. Yes, they do include some details that stuck in their minds as the Holy Spirit led them to write. Each writer viewed the resurrection through the filter of his own experience with Jesus and through the lens of his specific purpose in writing the Gospel text.
This study will not attempt to reconcile Matthew’s account with that of other Gospel writers. Instead, it will focus on a few simple truths about the meaning of the resurrection that Matthew provides.
The event of the resurrection of Christ was no cause for fear. (1–5)
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary approached the tomb on Sunday morning. In Matthew’s understanding, they went to view the tomb. What else could they do? Matthew 27:66 notes the tomb was securely sealed.
To their surprise, the tomb was unsealed. Whether the women or the guards witnessed the unsealing of the tomb is unclear. What is clear was an angel had rolled away the stone seal. An earthquake accompanied the unsealing. It may have been a tool the angel used, or it may have been an announcement to everyone that God was doing something amazing.
The women and the guards had different reactions to the angel and his work. The guards were paralyzed with fear. They may not have even been aware the tomb was empty. If just the appearance of an angel caused them to become “like dead men,” how would they have dealt with Jesus rising from the dead?
The women may have been afraid also … at first. The angel calmed their fears with the wonderful news Jesus was alive.
The evidence of the resurrection of Christ can be investigated. (6–7)
The angel invited the women to examine the empty tomb. Clearly, the angel had unsealed the tomb not to let Jesus out but to let the women in so they could provide an eyewitness account of the resurrection.
Faith is always a key component of following Jesus. Perhaps this is why God allowed no one to view the actual resurrection process firsthand. Yet, faith does not mean that Christ-followers cannot examine the claims of Jesus as Lord and Savior. His words and actions always stand up against all scrutiny.
The news of the resurrection of Christ needs to be shared. (8–10)
The message of Jesus’ resurrection must first be believed. After that, it must be shared with others. Matthew identifies three characteristics of a proper response to the good news of Christ’s (and therefore our) victory over death.
It must be immediate. Matthew underscores this by using the word “quickly” in the angel’s instruction to tell the other disciples and in the women’s response as they left. He notes the women ran to tell the others.
It must be born out of reverent awe. The women left the tomb with fear. “Phobos,” the Greek word for fear, has a much wider meaning than the English word. It can mean terror like the guards experienced, but it can also mean respect, awe or amazement. Most people are eager to share news that amazes or excites them. As believers become more amazed and excited about the resurrection, the more eager they will be to share it with others.
It must be shared with joy. As believers take delight in experiencing the resurrected Christ in their lives, that joy will naturally flow out as they share the resurrection message.
By Daryl Watts
Watts is a church consultant in Fresno, California.