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.”
While an earthquake shook the ground and opened the tomb, Jesus’ resurrection shook the whole world. That moment changed everything, for everyone, everywhere. No event in history matters as much. No news has ever caused so much joy. Jesus, who was crucified, has risen, just as He said He would. Even 2,000 years later, we still feel the reverberations of that earthquake. Jesus is risen!
Mary and Mary arrived at the tomb at dawn, just as the sun was rising on that Sunday morning. Christian tradition, following the practice of the earliest believers, calls for us to gather for worship on Sundays, the first day of the week. We celebrate Easter once each year, but every Sunday morning worship service is a celebration of the Resurrection. We believe Jesus is with us as the body of believers gathers. His Spirit moves among us, inspiring our praise, comforting us in times of sorrow, and filling us with wisdom from God’s word. Jesus welcomes us, hears our prayers, fills us with love, and reminds us of the mission He gave the church to go and make disciples. All this is true because Jesus rose from the dead, just as He said.
If you love and believe in Jesus, this is your story. Jesus’ resurrection is the preface and the central theme of your life, and it will provide the heavenly postscript to your earthly life. Your identity, your calling, the very essence of who you are flow from what happened that Sunday morning at the empty tomb. Jesus is risen! Therefore, you have new life. Therefore, you can know and love God. Therefore, you will overcome the troubles of this world. Therefore, you can live each day with purpose. Therefore, you have hope for eternity. Therefore, you are held safely, now and forever, in the loving, strong arms of God.
Glorious Father, thank You for raising Jesus from the dead and for giving me the hope of eternal life in His name. Your power and grace overwhelm me, and I rejoice today in the good news that my Savior is risen! I love You and commit my heart to follow Jesus forever, as I pray in His mighty name. Amen.
Pastor Mike Mirakian