Summary: The message from the Angel to the women serves as encouragment and help to all believers for all the ages.
The Message of the Angel
* (TEXT) Messages fill our days. We can get ‘messaged out!’ Between text messages, email messages, voice mail message, and phone calls to say nothing of the many messages receive in person, snail mail, & ‘body-language messages’ from those we interact with, we are all on ‘message overload.’ Any overload can cause us to shut down if not shut off.
* However, there are messages which seem to break through the overload. In the past month, that has happen with me (and perhaps us) in several different ways. Last Sunday evening, when June called me about Henry’s death, two-weeks ago last Friday when Deb called me about the death of a first cousin with whom we were pretty close at one time, and then a month ago when we received the call that Jonathon was to have not one, but several surgical procedures on that following Mondays. Somehow, those important messages seem to penetrate our defense mechanisms and focus our attention on the ‘matters’ which truly demand our focus.
* It is easy to focus when the message we receive comes from a specific person or with a certain sound in their voice. Can you imagine being one of these ladies at the tomb on that Resurrection morning? In another gospel we are told that they converse about ‘who would roll the stone’ so I think it is a safe guess to say that ‘they didn’t expect a man to be sitting on the stone.’ And for good measure, the man had a message for them. I suggest that the message from the angel at the tomb of Jesus could serve to give and teach us things which we need today.
* If I give you the simple outline of the angel’s message here it is; “Do not fear, He is not here; He’s alive, tell it till all hear.” Make no mistake there is much more in the details. Let’s dig just for a few minute.
1. DO NOT FEAR – What was there to make them afraid? First, a grave. Death makes us afraid. Generally people don't want to go to the grave yard at 'dawn.' (Which dawn – 12 or 24 hour day) Next, a grave that is supposed to be occupied is actually 'opened'. That would give a person the 'heebie-jeebies'! If that is not enough, there is this guy who is supernaturally 'illuminated' (that mean 'bright') is there. With the mysticism of that day (and even today), can anyone say the word, "GHOST"? Ghostbusters! Next, look at the guards - these are Roman Centurions, hardened from training and service, they are lying on the ground so afraid to move that they look like 'dead men.' So the ladies walk up on a picture which looks something like this; as they come into sight of the tomb, from a distance they can see the stone blocking the tomb has been rolled back up the hill into its original position.
* Getting closer, they see the bodies of the Roman guards strewed around on the ground looking dead. Then they notice that the guards are not dead, rather they are shaking from fright. “What could have happened which would have so frightened a group of hardened Roman soldiers?” Getting closer to the entrance of the tomb, they now notice an aura of light around this 2 ton stone. Quickly they see that this light is emanating from a 'man.' (Matthew records him sitting on the stone while other gospels say he was 'inside' the tomb. With all of the emotion of the day, this difference is understandable. The larger truth is this guy who is dressed in heavenly brilliance has been sent to bring to this people a heavenly message) Here’s the question - Is it any wonder that the angel began with 'fear not?"
* However, don’t miss that truth that almost every time a human encounters a heavenly being, the angel almost always begins with "Don't be afraid." It is in the present of the ‘heavenly’ that we who are earthly realize just how frail we are. The arrogance of humankind keeps breeds the thought that we are something that we are not. When we look around & do a comparison with other people, we get proud and arrogance. However, faced with an eternal being, we need to hear, “Don’t be afraid.” One of the first steps toward a relationship with God through Jesus is hear Him say, “Don’t’ be afraid.” Here’s how it happens; you come into His presence, in fact, you are drawn into His presence by His Holy Spirit working in you. In that moment, you will realize what “HE IS” and what “YOUR NOT.” It’s very humbling. Then, you will hear His words “don’t be afraid.”