After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: 'He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.' Now I have told you."
So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. "Greetings," he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me." Matthew 28:1-10
Jesus' arrival on earth came with great fanfare. Angels announced His birth to shepherds abiding in the field watching over their flocks by night. Magi from the East came bearing odd baby gifts: gold, frankincense and myrrh. (I will note with Perry, that the Magi arrived much later, so please remove them from your Nativity scene. Put them in another room, even.) Herod engaged in not really a “manhunt,” actually more of a “toddler hunt” to find this newborn king. Jesus’ birth brought much pageantry.
Jesus was buried in a borrowed tomb. The women came to care for His body. Their greatest obstacle was how exactly to remove the stone to attend the body.
When they arrived, the stone was moved. It was their lucky day. There was an angel sitting there. No choir. No harps. No song. Just these simple words: “He is not here. He has risen.”
The women encountered Jesus en route to the disciples. Jesus simply said, “Hey,” well, “Greetings” and gave them instructions to gather the disciples. No fanfare. His resurrection lacked any sensationalism whatsoever. Jesus didn’t flaunt His victory over sin. He didn’t publically proclaim, “I’m baaaaack!” He didn’t ridicule the religious leaders with “Who’s your daddy? I mean, Deity.” Jesus stayed out of the public eye.
This was a new phase of Jesus’ mission on earth. He proclaimed the Kingdom. He had died for the sins of the world. Jesus rose from the dead and declared victory over sin, death and the grave. Now, He had 40 days to give His disciples the proofs and assurances they needed to spread the Gospel throughout the world.
This was the culmination of three years of training His disciples and showing them what a connection with God meant. While we don’t have a great deal of detail about those 40 days, in the Book of Acts, we see many of the results of this time. The disciples proclaimed the gospel and thousands at a time were saved. The lame were healed. The possessed were delivered. They no longer cowered in courts, but boldly proclaimed the Name.
In those 40 days following Jesus’ resurrection, they had all the assurance they needed to live their lives for Him and eventually to give their lives for Him. When Jesus departed, people could no longer look at Him for teaching or healing or a free lunch. But, they could see Jesus in the lives of His disciples.
As Jesus’ disciple, how do people see Jesus in you? I’m not saying be extra careful today not to speak a harsh word. I’m not saying try harder to pretend to be like Christ. People see Jesus in us when we fully surrender ourselves to Him and allow Jesus to live His life through us. Take a moment right now to surrender this day to Him.