When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him.  And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb.  And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?”  And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large.  And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed.  And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him.  But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.”  And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid. (ESV)
The women going to Jesus’ tomb on Easter were going there to anoint his with the spices they had prepared. They were worried about who would roll away the stone from the entrance to the tomb so that they could get at the corpse. They were thinking Jesus was still dead and the stone was very large.
But then they looked up and saw that the stone already had been rolled away from the tomb. It’s always nice when you are wondering about who will do something and find out that it has already been done. Now they could go in and anoint the body.
Sadly there are many people today that do not know that Jesus has already conquered death for them.
As it says in the Isaiah 25, Jesus has swallowed up death forever, the covering that is cast over all people, the veil that is spread over all nations has been removed by the death and resurrection of Jesus. (Isaiah 25:6-7)
It’s all been done for us but, like the women wondering about the stone at the entrance to the tomb, many think something must be done about death.
Continuing with the stone analogy, as it says in Psalm 118, Jesus is the stone the builders rejected that has become the cornerstone, this is the Lord’s doing and it is marvelous in his eyes. (Psalm 118:22-23)
Jesus rose never to die again. Others rose from their graves but were still subject to death. When Jesus rose he was no longer subject to death in any way.
When we who believe in Jesus rise from the dead we will no longer be subject to death in any way. We should think of Jesus’ resurrection and our resurrection as the same event.
All that is left for us to do is to praise him, as it says again in Isaiah 25: “It will be said on that day, ‘Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the LORD; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.’” (Isaiah 29:9)
So the women entered the tomb and a man was sitting there dressed in a white robe. He was the first one to share the good news: “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here.”
He invited them to look at the place where Jesus lay and then told them to go and tell the disciples.
Jesus told the women where to meet him; Galilee. Galilee was a logical place. Jesus had told them he would meet them there. Jesus had done a lot of ministry there. Most of the disciples were from there.
Just as many people don’t know that Jesus has already conquered death for them, many people also do not know where to meet God.
Today Jesus tells us to meet him in his Word and Sacraments. We dare not try to dictate to Jesus where he is to meet us.
When we celebrate the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper we are, in a sense, swallowing up death. In the words Jesus used to institute this sacrament he says, “This is my body which is given for you. This is my blood which was shed for you.” We receive into our mouths the very body and blood of Jesus that was given and shed for us for the forgiveness of our sins.
It’s always nice when something we have to do has already been done for us. Complete and total victory over death has already been done for us by Jesus’ death and resurrection. Although we did not get to meet Jesus in Galilee, we meet him whenever we celebrate his holy supper. May our songs of praise to our risen Lord never end.