We don’t know at what time Jesus arose from the dead on the first day of the week, but it must have been very early. The earthquake and the angel (Matt. 28:2-4) opened the tomb, not to let Jesus out but to let the witnesses in.
Mary Magdalene had been especially helped by Jesus and was devoted to Him (Luke 8:2). She had lingered at the cross (Mark 15:47), and then she was first at the tomb. With her were Mary the mother of James; Joanna; and other devout women (Luke 24:10), hoping to finish preparing their Lord’s body for burial.
Because of the timing of the crucifixion, the body had not been completely prepared. The Sabbath started at 6 pm on Friday. Why? Because that is when the workday ended at sundown (Mark 1:32; Luke 4:40). We are not concerned with other places in the world, God was in the Garden of Eden. From the description of the Garden of Eden, we can assume that it was originally located in what we today call Iran. Sundown there is at about 6 pm.
There had been little time to preserve the body and get it to the tomb before sundown. What the ladies were doing was a sad labor of love that was transformed into gladness when they discovered that Jesus was alive.
“Who will roll the stone away?” was their main concern. The Roman soldiers would not break the Roman seal, especially for a group of mourning Jewish women. But God had solved the problem for them; the tomb was open and there was not a body to prepare!
At this point, two angels appeared on the scene. Matthew 28:2 and Mark 16:5 mention only one of the two, the one who gave the message to the women. There was a kind rebuke in his message as he reminded them of their bad memories! More than once, Jesus had told His followers that He would suffer and die and be raised from the dead (Matt. 16:21; 17:22-23; 20:17-19; Luke 9:22, 44; 18:31-34). How sad it is when God’s people forget His Word and live defeated lives. Today, the Spirit of God assists us to remember His Word (John 14:26).
The women ran to tell the disciples the good news, but the men did not believe them!
Unfortunately, there are still many churches and individuals today who still don’t believe it. I was raised in one of these churches. They only spoke of the Holy Spirit at baptisms. According to them, when you received the water baptism you automatically receive the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is there to help you. When doing bible studies, they always skipped over the 14th through the 16th chapters of John. I’m not sure whether they didn’t know how to explain them or they were afraid of them.
According to them, God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are dead. Therefore there can be no more miracles. I guess they have never witnessed salvation, especially mine. I guess they have never witnessed the birth of a baby. I guess they have never witnessed a person being brought back to life. No, they are not dead. There are still miracles today just as there were in Jesus’ lifetime. In Mark 16:14, Jesus later rebuked them for their unbelief.
Mary Magdalene asked Peter and John to come to examine the tomb (John 20:1-10), and they too saw the proof that Jesus was not there. However, all that the evidence said was that the body was gone and apparently there had been no violence.
As Mary lingered by the tomb weeping, Jesus Himself appeared to her (John 20:11-18). It is one thing to see the empty tomb and the empty grave clothes, but quite something else to meet the risen Christ. We today cannot see the evidence in the tomb, but we do have the testimony of the witnesses found in the inspired Word of God.
As we live out our faith in Jesus Christ and know personally that He is alive in us (Gal. 2:20), we can see the miracles that are happening each day. We can recognize that the Holy Spirit is still waking people at 2 am singing a song of praise to God that they are to sing to the world. The Holy Spirit still inspires the words that God Called preachers and teachers are to speak, whether in a classroom or written. God still inspires men to write about God today just as he did Peter and Paul. A book doesn’t have to be cannoned to come from God.
Keep in mind that these women did not expect to see Jesus alive. They had forgotten His resurrection promises and went to the tomb only to finish anointing His body. They became excited witnesses, even to their leaders, that Jesus Christ is alive!
Has anyone ever walked up to you and said, “I see Christ in you?” If you are a Christian, then people should see Christ in you.