“At the dawn of the first day of the week” (Matthew 28:1)
How many dawns have we experienced in our lifetime? Some fill the skies with dark clouds. Some with brilliant shades of red. But of all the dawns in the history of mankind, none was so magnificent and majestic as the dawn of Resurrection morning. Because that dawn is the foundation of our faith in Jesus Christ. If he hadn’t risen from the dead, he would simply be an historical figure to us all. I want us to focus on three very powerful human emotions that played out that resurrection morning. They are sorrow, fear, and joy.
First, sorrow was present at the scene of Christ’s tomb because sorrow permeated the hearts and minds of the women who came to his sepulcher that morning. Sorrow is an emotion very familiar to us as women. We weep and sorrow over many things. It can be a little confusing exactly who these women were, but according to my research there were four of them who came at one time or another. Mary Magdalene, Jesus’ mother Mary, Mary the mother of James, and a fellow follower of Christ named Salome. They weren’t there to see if Jesus had raised from the dead. They were there to publicly sorrow over his death. They brought with them spices and ointments so they could anoint his body for burial, an important part of mourning. I’m sure tears were streaming down their faces as they slowly walked to the tomb that early dawn.
But there was also the powerful emotion of fear present at Christ’s tomb. There was a stone that covered the opening to Christ’s tomb. The Greek language tells us that the stone was “huge, massive, enormous.” One gigantic stone, not smaller rocks piled on top of one another. Why so enormous a stone? Because of the emotion of fear. To protect ourselves we erect stones the size of our fears. Pilate had ordered the stone to be placed there. The reason was that both the Jewish and Roman leaders were afraid someone (mainly the disciples) might try to steal Christ’s body and claim he had been resurrected. They also were familiar with Christ’s miraculous powers and were fearful he might have the ability to remove the stone from inside the tomb. What these people were afraid of was – Jesus Christ’s resurrection. What if it could happen? What if did happen? What would they do? So, for them, the dawn brought fear.
The third powerful emotion present that morning was joy. When the women arrived at the tomb, they found an angel “with an appearance like lightening” (Matthew 28:3) sitting atop the massive stone. No wonder the Roman guards had fled the scene. The women entered the tomb and were greeted by a young man clothed in a long white garment. Suddenly, two men stood by them in shining garments. These two men gave the women the greatest news they had ever heard – “He is not here, but is risen!” What a dawning of the day that day was! Now, imagine if you can the emotion of joy that flooded their hearts and minds. The One they had come to sorrow over was alive!
Emotions are a normal part of our daily lives. Sometimes our emotions are filled with sorrow. Other times with fear. But, I pray that this week as we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, our hearts, minds, and emotions will be filled to the brim with the joy of knowing our Savior is alive! He is alive!