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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

INSTRUCTIONS FROM THE ANGELS

Matt 28:5-7 And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead; and, behold, He goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see Him: lo, I have told you. (Also See Mark 28:5-7; Luke 24:4-8)

Previous verses tell us that an angel of God appeared at the sepulchre of Jesus and rolled the stone away from its opening. Then while seated upon this stone, the angel, having a bright countenance and snowy white clothing, was seen by the Roman soldiers who were guarding the tomb. Matthew tells us that they became so awestruck that they were speechless and mentally numb - they became as dead men. Whether this angel appeared to Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and Salome is debated by many. However, we know that it was this angel or another that appeared to these dedicated women, disciples of Christ, and spoke to them with these comforting words: Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. Mark tells us that they did not see the angel until after they were entering into the sepulchre. And there they found the angel seated on the right side, clothed in a long white garment, and they were affrighted (Mark 16:5). Luke adds that the women saw two angels who stood by them in shining garments, and, upon seeing them, they were afraid (Luke 24:4). John also confirms that there were two angels at the now empty tomb of Jesus (John 20:12).

To further ease their fear and give comfort to these women, the angels said this about Jesus: He is not here: for He is risen, as He said. No doubt these women would have been distraught if they were only told that Jesus was not in His tomb. They would have had all manner of imaginations as to what might have happened to His body. But the angels added, He is risen, as He said. This tells us that neither the Roman soldiers nor these women disciples witnessed the resurrection of Jesus. As a matter of fact, from these scriptures, and those that immediately preceded them, the resurrection of our Savior was not seen by human eyes. When the stone was rolled away and the tomb opened, Jesus had already arisen from His grave.

Men and women of the world continually search for the Savior but cannot find Him. They listen to false teachers tell them, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, He is there. Jesus gave us sufficient warning of such deception; He said then, and says to us today, believe him not, that is, believe not a false teacher (See Mark 13:21-22). Instead, listen to the angels that were sent from God on this occasion; they tell the world: He is risen, as He said. Those that seek Jesus in the world will ever be disappointed and lost. Salvation will only come to those that reverently and humbly seek Jesus with a spiritually-guided mind. To find the Savior you must set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth (See Col. 3:1-3). For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ (Phil. 3:20)

As proof that Jesus is risen, the angels told these women, Come, see the place where the Lord lay. On Friday, the day of preparation, they had witnessed Jesus' body being placed in this sepulchre, they saw the stone rolled over its entrance, they saw it securely sealed, and they saw the Roman soldiers that were dispatched to guard the tomb. On Sunday morning they returned and witnessed the earth quaking and the stone, that covered the tomb opening, being rolled away by a celestial being. Surely, in their minds, they thought the body of Jesus remained inside that would allow them to anoint His body with sweet spices (Mark 16:1). Yet, the angels told them that Jesus was not there, He is risen.

Being invited to witness the empty tomb, we are sure these women did so. And afterwards they were given these instructions by these angels to go quickly, and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead. Mark specifically names Peter among the disciples of Jesus (Mark 16:7). Although Peter had openly denied knowing Jesus only a few days ago, it had to be assuring for him to know that His Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ still loved him and had forgiven him of his terrible sin of denial. To these instructions the angels gave them additional information about the risen Savior: behold, He goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see Him. This is exactly what Jesus had told His apostles while He was with them on the Mount of Olives: But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee (Matt. 26:32). The angels then assured these women that they had completed the task assigned to them by God: lo, I have told you.