By Russ Ramsey
Early on the first Easter morning, some of Jesus’s friends went to His grave to anoint the body of their friend and teacher. But when they arrived, they were greeted by a man dressed in white, or what another one of the Gospel writers described as “dressed in clothes that gleamed like lightning” (Mark 16:5; Luke 24:4), who told them Jesus was not there, as He’d told them. He had risen (Mark 16:6–7).
Every time an angel appears to people in Scripture, the human response is fear. This encounter was certainly no different. The encounter mirrors when the angel appeared to the shepherds outside Bethlehem to tell them that a Savior had been born unto them. To the shepherds, the angel came to announce that Jesus had come to them. To the women at the tomb, the angel came to tell them He had gone—but that He would appear again to them soon.
The resurrection of Jesus opened a door between the fallen, groaning world into which He was born and the renewal of all things (Ephesians 1:18–23). When Jesus Christ came in the flesh to be the mediator between God and man (Hebrews 2:5–9), five crucial things happened, and they carry on even still.
First, He lived the life of perfect righteousness we’ve all failed to live. He also died as a lamb led to the slaughter, Isaiah says, offering Himself as the perfect sacrifice to atone for the sins of the world, once and for all (Isaiah 53:7). Even this did not defeat Him; instead, He rose from the grave defeating death itself (Mark 16). Jesus Christ now lives as the appointed heir of all things, bearing all authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18; Hebrews 1:2–3). He now rules over every corner of creation, putting every enemy under His feet, while making alive by His grace through faith those who were dead in their sins (1Corinthians 15:20–26; Ephesians 2:5).
He meant to do all of this.
If Jesus has not risen, those who trust in Him are to be pitied because their hope extends no further than their wishful thinking. Their faith is futile, and they remain in their sins (1Corinthians 15:17–19). But if Jesus has risen, then His disciples are born into a new hope, because just as death entered the world through one man, Adam, now resurrection has done the same through the incarnate Son of God, who has prevailed over the power of the curse. The last enemy, death itself, has been destroyed (vv.21–26).
Jesus meant to lay down His life for you. And as sure as He has taken it up again, He knows you.