So let’s open our Bibles to Matthew 28 where we will conclude this study of Jesus Christ through the gospel of Matthew.
It is important to note that though Matthew gives us some of the details, he alone does not cover the whole scope of events that happened. In fact, there is not one gospel writer who gathers all the information and events.
It is when we lay these gospels side by side that we then begin to put together the pieces of the puzzle and get a bigger picture of what happened and how it happened. Even then, however, there are some things we are left wondering about! But the good news is that we have been given enough information to make a right decision about Jesus Christ and His bodily resurrection.
So as we begin, we will look at amazing proofs in Matthew 28:1-10.
Matthew begins by telling us that after the Sabbath (Saturday for Jews), at dawn the next day, the first day of the week (Sunday) Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went early to the tomb where Jesus had been buried. They went in order to give Him a proper burial, which there had not been time for prior to the Passover feast and the Sabbath.
On their way that morning there was yet another violent earthquake. This earthquake, we are told, was the result of an angel, or possibly two angels (Luke 24:4), of God who had descended from heaven and went straight to the tomb where Jesus had been buried.
Obviously their arrival did not go unnoticed for we are told that they appeared like lightning, meaning quickly and brightly. Not your average visitors, and after rolling back the stone that sealed the tomb, one of the angels sat on the rock apparently waiting for the women to come so that He might encourage their hearts and direct their paths. The other angel was inside the tomb acting as a light, revealing that the tomb was indeed empty.
Apparently, after witnessing these events, the soldiers that were posted at the burial site shook in great fear and fell to the ground as dead men.
And it appears that as the women approached the tomb they could see from a distance that the stone had been rolled away. It was probably at this point that Mary Magdalene was sent off to go and tell the disciples.
I’m sure these women had many questions as they stood off at a distance from the sight. What happened? Who moved the stone? Had the body of Jesus been stolen? Grave robbing was a common crime in the ancient world; what if the grave robbers were still close by? What was going on? These questions and more may have filled their minds and troubled their souls.
Then, in order to calm their fears and ease their troubled hearts, the angels who had remained silent until now appeared like lightning in clothes that were white as snow.
They spoke to the women, imparting a four-part message.
First, they encouraged their hearts by saying, “Do not be afraid.”
The reality of the resurrection brings joy, not fear! When you are afraid, remember the empty tomb! And rejoice!
Secondly, they comforted the women’s souls by making them aware of the reality of the resurrection.
They said, “I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; He has risen, just as He said.”
We too would do well to remember that Jesus is not in the grave and not go looking for him among the things of the dead. How often do we go back to the graveyard of our sins and transgressions in doubt or fear, dredging up things that have long since passed?
We must focus not on the past but on what lies ahead. Jesus Christ died that He might bury the sins of our past, present, and future. We must trust that His work of salvation is complete. Instead of going backward, we must confess our sins and move on, knowing that He is alive and enables His people to live a resurrected life in and through Him.
Next, the angels invited the women to, “Come and see the place where he lay.”
The women accepted their invitation and went deeper inside to check out the evidence for themselves. They found that the tomb was indeed empty, and it remains empty today!
So for those of you who have studied God’s Word through this series, you too have been given sufficient evidence that indeed the tomb was and is empty!
How have you responded to that truth? Have you committed your sin and your life to the one who can raise you to new life?
That’s the truth of the resurrection for you too!
And fourth, they were told to go quickly and tell the others.
They were to spread the joy of the resurrection and so are we. WE are to spread the great news about Jesus and His resurrection from the dead.