Day 39

Matthew 28:1-15

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.

2 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. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 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.”

8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

The Guards’ Report

11 While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. 12 When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money,

13 telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ 14 If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” 15 So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.

Some of the best childhood memories I have are of the holidays. I loved all of them. My wife and I still decorate the house for each one. Growing up, one tradition we had at Easter was to get up early in the morning and try to find our Easter baskets. They would be hidden around the house. It was exciting to search and search, knowing and hoping for what was at the end. A big surprise! Candy, toys and more candy!

I suppose on that first Easter morning when the women heard the news that Jesus was alive, they felt excited too. What a surprise for them! Jesus was dead, life was over, and now, He’s alive! This was a game changer. It confirmed everything about His life. The “Easter Basket” of their faith was full of the sweetness of God and the gifts of his Spirit.

Oh, I wish I could have been there. What would I have said to Him? What promises would I have made to Him? The great news is we still can! He’s alive! Right here in front of you. Give Him your heart and open your life to the One who conquered death. He loves you! This is an exciting day full of surprises.

Of course, some in that day were told a lie that Jesus’s body was stolen and that He wasn’t really alive. Some people today still believe that lie. Believing that is as foolish as still believing in the Easter bunny! But then, as long as I keep getting a basket full of candy, I don’t care who gives it to me. Happy Easter! Jesus is risen!