by Terry J. Hallock

He Still Rolls the Stones Away
Terry J. Hallock
Matthew 28:1-10
Easter Sunday, April 23, 2000

As the two Mary's approached the tomb where Jesus had been laid following His agonizing death on Calvary's cross they expected to find what any person would have expected to find: a dead body buried in a tomb. That was the order of things. When a person was crucified that person died and Jesus had clearly died. Scores of witnesses had seen it. When a person was dead he or she was buried and Jesus had clearly been buried. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicademus had seen to it. When the burial was complete a stone secured the tomb to keep grave robbers from molesting it. In Jesus' case a seal was placed over the stone and soldiers assigned to guard the tomb in order to pacify the Pharisees that none of Jesus' followers would steal his body away during the night.

There could have been no other expectation within the hearts of those women at the sunrise of that morning except to find Jesus dead and buried. Death had won. Life had lost. The devil had succeeded. Jesus had failed. What other meaning could there be on that morning?

Yet as the women slowly made their way to perform one last act of love for their Lord, the earth trembled and the soldiers shook and became like dead men as an angel of God rolled the stone away. Jesus was no longer dead but alive! Calvary's cross, soaked with the blood of God's only begotten Son, upon which the devil believed he had won his greatest victory, had been turned into the symbol of his greatest defeat. The tomb in which Jesus' body had been laid and which every human eye -- both those of His enemies and His friends -- saw as the ultimate testament of the power of death now stood empty of its prize. The soldiers of Rome who had defeated every military force in the world lay on the ground trembling in fear at the presence of just one of God's angels. And as the women hurried away from the tomb, the resurrected Jesus met them and they ...

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