The Angel Spoke to the Women
NLT Matthew 28:5–6
Then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying.
Why is this ponderable?
We know that the two “women” referred to in this passage are Mary Magdalene and Mary, the sister of Lazarus. We know it was early Sunday morning. We know that they came with ointments, salts and other materials used to dress bodies for final interment. Normally, this would have been done on the day of death, but handling the body of Jesus would have made them unclean and not permitted to participate in the feast of the Passover, which began on Friday at sundown. We also know that the stone used to seal the tomb had already been rolled in place, but the women hoped the guards would roll it back for them, so they could complete their mission. However, before they got to the tomb,”there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it. 3 His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. 4 The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint”
No doubt, both women were filled with fear too. Under normal circumstances, they might have fled and not looked back. But this was Jesus, and they would not let their fear keep them away. So we are left to ponder this angel whose face shone like lightning and whose clothing was white as snow.
Most Believers will take this event as just another mystical event associated with Jesus. After all, his birth was foretold by an angel and angels were mentioned often in the Old Testament.
However, Non-Believers would be skeptical. Some would say the whole Easter story was fabricated by followers of Jesus as a way to address the resentment that overtook them when their great expectations were so bluntly dashed. The scientifically inclined might subscribe to the Star Trek theory. Perhaps Jesus was a visitor from an advanced civilization and the angel was a crew member. They would say that the “great earthquake” was the roar of the space vehicle that moved the stone away and beamed up the body of Jesus to be refurbished.
Nonetheless, whether we look at this event as believers or non-believers, it is still deeply ponderable and not so easy to dismiss. Perhaps that is why, throughout the millennia, Christian parents responded to their inquisitive children with alternate stories and key figures. It was a lot easier to explain the Easter Bunny, colored eggs, and edible chocolate figures to children than to explain a glowing angel, the noise of a flyng vehicle, and where Jesus was taken when he was extracted from the tomb.