After going through the four gospel accounts of Jesus’ crucifixion, I’m now going back and reading the accounts of Jesus’ resurrection. I began in Matthew yesterday. Matthew draws a contrast between the response of the women and the response of the guards to the resurrection (this is the only gospel where the guards are mentioned):
1 Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 2 And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4 And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. 5 But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.”
To the guards, the angel was someone to be terrified of — he stood in opposition to them. They were so afraid that they fainted. But to the women, the angel said, “Do not be afraid.” He was there to bring them good news.
In vv. 11-15, the guards got up and went to the chief priests and elders, who proceeded to cover up the resurrection. To Jesus’ enemies, the resurrection was bad news. It confirmed His claim to be the Son of God, the Messiah, and the King of Israel. But to the women, this message brought “fear and great joy” (v. 8).
Jesus’ resurrection isn’t good news for everyone. For those who oppose Him, it is the worst of news. It means that He has risen and conquered death. But to us, it is the best news there could be. Because our Savior overcame the grave, we too have the hope of eternal life spent in His presence.