But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. 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.”
I can't imagine this moment without thrill and wonder seizing me. I have seen death... regularly. It attends vocational ministry. Death has come to my life personally and taken those I love. My first brutal awareness of its finality came as a child when my mother's father died. And as I grew, death claimed my mother in my teens. It claimed all my grandparents eventually. Aunts, uncles, in-law relations, even friends now. Most recently, my father died two years ago. In all cases, death is final. It is a parting... an end.
But with Jesus something changed. He died but He now lives again. He brought the hope of new life, of resurrection, of hope beyond death by dying and then rising from the dead. These women found an empty tomb that Sunday morning and a promise from an angel to go to Galilee and see the Savior alive again. How astonished they must have been. It all happened as Jesus said it would. He was led away by the authorities. He was crucified. But He rose from the dead on the third day. This is still so amazing two millennia later!
The gospel's good news centers on the atoning sacrifice of Christ on the cross. But the "good" in the news... the wildly exciting part of the gospel... is that Jesus beat back death's hold on humanity. He gives eternal life beyond death. We pass from death to life in His resurrection. We need not fear the grave. It is a bed from which Christians awaken to eternity with the Lord. It is the resurrection that gives us that confidence and hope. It is the new life in the Risen Savior that takes away the sting from death!