18.01.02 Mt. 28:2-4 Sunday morning
STONE WAS ROLLED AWAY
2 Suddenly there was a violent earthquake, because an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and approached the tomb. He rolled back the stone and was sitting on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his robe was as white as snow. 4 The guards were so shaken from fear of him that they became like dead men.
Just as the world was recovering from the physical and social earthquake of the crucifixion, on Sunday, the 16th of Nisan, A.D. 30, there was another earthquake – a supernatural one that rolled the stone from the tomb entrance. Everyone had some kind of response to the events of the Day of Preparation, but what happened on Sunday morning surpassed all that.
The reason the stone was rolled away was not to permit Jesus out of the grave, but to permit His disciples to enter and see that He had risen and was gone. Without the resurrection, the life and death of Jesus would have been absolutely meaningless (Rom. 4:25). Man’s only hope is in the resurrection of Christ. Because He arose, people have eternal life promised to them. Furthermore, believers can look forward to the time they will be with Him. This blessed hope in Christ has been a doctrine of the church since His resurrection, and was underscored at Pentecost. The name of Jesus, which originally was Joshua, had fulfilled its meaning, “Yahweh (God) is salvation.”
An important feature that makes the work of Jesus significant is that He provided what the saints of the Hebrew Bible yearned for: victory over sin. This was a radical departure from the Sadducean and Pharisaic ritual laws. Note these choice words said about Jesus:
O mystic wonder! The Lord was laid low, and man rose up!
Clement of Alexandria, Exhortation to the Greeks
The same one is Priest and Sacrifice, the same one is God and Temple: the Priest, thorough whom we are reconciled; the Sacrifice, by which we are reconciled; the Temple, in which we are reconciled; and God, to whom we are reconciled.
Fulgence of Ruspe, The Rule of Faith
For those who question if Jesus died and rose from the grave, below are two thoughts to consider:
If Christ died and did not rise, how is it that those (his disciples) in the account who fled from impending danger while He was yet alive, surrounded themselves with a thousand dangers for His sake when He was dead?
John Chrysostom, Homilies on the Beginning of the Acts of the Apostles
It is unbelievable that the world should have believed so unbelievable a thing.
Augustine, City of God
. For other references that pertain to the blessed hope and when Christ will return for His church, see 1 Thess. 4:13-17; Titus 2:11-14; 1 Cor. 15:51-52; Heb. 9:28; 2 Thess. 2:1; 1 Jn. 3:2.
. Grant, “Jesus Christ.” 2:869
. Thomas, The Golden Treasury of Patristic Quotations: From 50 – 750 A.D. 42.
. Thomas, The Golden Treasury of Patristic Quotations: From 50 – 750 A.D. 43.
. Thomas, The Golden Treasury of Patristic Quotations: From 50 – 750 A.D. 228; Parenthesis mine.
. Thomas, The Golden Treasury of Patristic Quotations: From 50 – 750 A.D. 233.