He Is Not Here!
The women come very early in the morning to Jesus' tomb to anoint His body. They had watched as He was buried. They know a huge stone had been rolled in place in the mouth of the burial cave. They expect to see the soldiers guarding His dead body and the Roman seal undisturbed. As they walk along, they wonder who would roll away the stone so they can accomplish their task of love.
The tomb comes into view. There is suddenly a violent earthquake. The stone is already moved aside from the entrance. The soldiers are lying on the ground. Are they sleeping? Passed out? Dead?
Sitting on top of the stone is a glorious being, dazzling with a radiance of light that makes them squint. It's an angel! He says to them, "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." (Matthew 28:5-6 NIV) Their minds are reeling. They hear the angel, but they have to process what he is telling them. One phrase sticks in their minds. He. Is. Not. Here.
The angel invites them to come inside the tomb and see for themselves. He is not here. He has risen. Next the angel says, "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.” (Matthew 28:6-7 NIV)
He is not here. He is not here! HE IS NOT HERE!
Jesus no longer lays in the place of death. He is risen, just as He said.
As they hurry away from the tomb to go tell the disciples, they are afraid, yet filled with joy. Suddenly, Jesus meets them. He greets them and they fall at His feet in worship. He is alive! How can it be? They saw Him die. They saw Him buried. But He is alive! Jesus says to them, "Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” (Matthew 28:10 NIV)
His resurrection seals the redemption Jesus came to make. He died on the cross as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world. For ALL sins. For past and present and future sins. They are all nailed to the Cross with the Son of God. Then, on resurrection morning, Jesus walks out of the tomb alive! Gloriously alive. Supernaturally alive. Not barely recovered from the scourging and execution, but fully, powerfully alive. Death has been conquered. "He is not here; He has risen, just as He said!"
This resurrected Son of God ascended to heaven and is alive today. For centuries He has entered the lives of those who put faith in Him to redeem from sin, empower transformation and grant eternal life. Jesus is not a dead rabbi who taught amazing moral principles like "turn the other cheek" and "do to others as you would have them do to you." He is much more. He is the living Son of God who changes lives to this day.
If we could go back in time to resurrection morning and stand beside the women at the tomb, we would hear the angel say the truth: "He is not here; He has risen, just as He said!" So the life-changing question becomes, is Jesus here? Is He with us, today? Does He live in my life? Have I encountered the living Savior and made Him the Lord of my life?
In Revelation 3, the risen Christ says this to the Church at Laodicea: "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me." (Revelation 3:20 ESV)
Jesus is alive! He is here. He stands at the door of the hearts of men and women, knocking. All who hear and open the door to Him find that He comes in! He enters our lives and changes us. We are never the same. If you have never done so, here is the invitation: Open the door. Invite Jesus in. Give your life to Him. Grow in His grace and truth. He will give you life!
This is our Easter faith. Jesus is alive! And the risen Christ is the hope of the world!
He. Is. Not. Here. Happy Easter!