Two women by the name of Mary were up together early that morning. The damp dew had settled in. And the half light of the breaking dawn would have been plenty for them to make their way to the place were Jesus was laid. They came bearing spices that they might make sure that Jesus had received a proper burial. The brisk of the cool air was in their breath as they discussed how they would move the stone that sealed the grave of their Lord. What exactly they were thinking we do not know. They were no doubt heart broken over the events that had taken place just two short days before. They had seen the horrors of Golgotha with their own eyes. They had heard the cries of their beloved friend from his shameful cross. And they watched as his body was taken from the cross, wrapped in linen, and sealed a the tomb. Their pain was no doubt too deep for words. There pain, however, would not tarry.
As they approached the tomb, the earth trembled and the stone that had once covered the tomb was now moved. And immediately they saw two men, arrayed in light at the entrance to the tomb. The angels, sensing their fear, told them to be still and be not afraid. Then came the announcement that would change the world forever. “I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said,” (Matthew 28:5-6). He is not here, they said. He is among the living, not the dead.
What news! What glorious news! Their Savior who bled and died was now alive. Their King who laid down his life had taken it up again. Their master whose dead body laid under the curse of death had now defeated the grave. I can only image the amazement that would have filled their hearts, to be there for the very first announcement of Jesus’ resurrection. Sin was defeated. Death was dead. And the grave was empty. Jesus was alive. And their hearts were filled with joy.
Nothing greater has ever happened in all the history of the world. The resurrection of Jesus is the most profound and world-altering event to ever take place. And it is the hinge-pin of our faith. At the heart of the Christian message is this: a man lived, died, and on the third day walked out of the very tomb in which he was laid. The resurrection is the proof that Jesus’ sacrifice was accepted by God. It is the sign of approval from a loving Father to his Beloved Son. It is the seal upon him that he is the Christ, the Son of David who is to reign over all of creation. It is the declaration that sin, Satan, and death have been vanquished by King Jesus. It is the evidence that Jesus is who he said he was – the God-man. It is the reminder that God keeps his promises, namely to bless all the families of the earth in Christ. It is the testimony that those in Christ will one day be raised to live a resurrection life just as he now forever lives. There is nothing greater to celebrate. There is no story greater to be told. There is no King greater to be worshiped. And there is no joy greater to be found than in this: Jesus died for our sins. And he was raised.
Morning had dawned indeed. And joy too.