The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Matthew 28:5-6

I wonder how many times the scene of Jesus’ last breath played itself over and over in the minds of the Mary’s and the other disciples of Jesus that Sabbath day after the crucifixion. What was it like in the synagogue services the next day.

Remember. It was Passover. The city was full of people who had come toJerusalemfor the celebration. Many of them had no doubt heard Jesus speak. They had seen him heal the blind and the lame. They’d seen him cast out demons and raise people from the dead. Some of them may even have been the recipient of Jesus’ touch…and now he was dead.

There must have been a tremendous amount of fear. The Synagogue rulers had always been powerful. They had made rules that were impossible to keep. And now, if the Jews could kill Jesus, what could stop them? Who was next? Would this bring down the Roman guard against others? Even the Roman that watched Jesus die said “Surely, this was the son of God!”

In the homes and gathering places of thousands of Jews there had to have been confusion. So many had thought this was truly the Messiah, and now he was gone. Some may have celebrated. With ever one of these ‘religious zealots’ that came along they carried a threat that the Romans would come in and smash the uprising. Others were no doubt angry. Angry at the Jews for killing a good man. Angry at God for not protecting Jesus. Angry at Jesus for getting their hopes up. Anger doesn’t have to make sense. It only needs an object to attack.

Were the Mary’s at the Synagogue that day? I’ll bet they were. So were many other followers of Jesus. Maybe even a few of the disciples. They came to pray, to worship, to ask ‘why?’ Sabbath was so much more than a ‘Sunday’ in our culture. There was nothing else going on. It was a time of reflection. A time for families. And on this endless Sabbath, a day of remembering.

It’s no wonder then that early the next morning a handful of women made their way through the quiet streets ofJerusalemwith a few vials of oil. They went to remember. They went to worship. They went so that one more time they could say good-bye to their Lord and Savior.

But what joy would await them. Two shining angels. A rolled away stone. An empty tomb. An announcement that would become the battle cry of Christ-followers through the ages.

“We know why you came here this morning. You came looking for Jesus. He’s not here. He’s risen…just like he said he would.

Isn’t that just like Jesus? He did EXACTLY as he said he would. He still does today. Every promise will come true. HE IS RISEN. HE IS RISEN INDEED!

PRAYER: Dear Jesus. Thank you so much for dying for my sins. Thank you for the forgiveness, grace and mercy you make available to me. I give you all the honor, all the praise for you are God! Amen.

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