This story is not the first encounter that these women had with Jesus. They are mentioned several times as being present during the crucifixion and burial (in stark contrast to Peter and the twelve, who have fled). In Matthew 27:55 we are told they are among the group who followed Jesus from Galilee. They had been around him and seen his work.
But nothing they had experienced previously even comes close to their encounter that Sunday morning for life-changing impact. Having seen him buried in the tomb on the eve of the Sabbath, they went back to the tomb to visit once the Sabbath was complete. They were far from home and with nothing else to do, they wanted to go and grieve for their friend and teacher.
When they reached the tomb they were greeted with an earthquake (just as the earth had also quaked as Jesus died). It is as though the earth itself cannot handle the weightiness of what was occurring. They were also greeted by an angel of the Lord, shining in brilliant white and sitting on the stone and announcing that Jesus was no longer in the tomb but was risen from the dead. They were to go to Galilee and he would meet them there.
Understandably they were filled with both fear and joy. Wouldn’t you be? This was the breaking in of a new reality. God’s victory over sin and death. Triumph snatched from the claws of defeat. The implications are huge. This changes everything.
The women ran to tell the disciples, and as they were doing so the risen Jesus himself met with them. No longer was it merely the testimony of an angel and an empty tomb (as glorious as those things are), but they were eye-witnesses of the risen Christ himself.
They fell at his feet in worship. Their lives would never be the same again.
Some Key Points:
- The women had followed Jesus for a while. They went to the tomb to mourn their friend.
- Jesus is alive! This changes everything.
- The truth of the risen Christ leads to great joy, fear and worship.
- Fear and Joy – One of the immediate responses of the women to this news was fear. This is not the kind of fear that worries that something is bad, but rather that grasps the significance and weightiness of what has happened. We should stand in awe at this resurrection that changes everything and be filled with joy, because those changes make all things right.
- Sharing the News – Their first priority on leaving the tomb was to run and tell the disciples. The news that Jesus is risen from the dead is incredible news that needs to be shared!
- Worship Him – The resurrection shows Jesus as Lord of life and validates all of his claims about himself. The response of the women to fall at his feet and worship him should be our response too.