The Message of the Angel

Title: The Message of the Angel

Bible Book: Matthew 28 : 1-10

Author: Jerry N. Watts

Subject: Resurrection; Witnessing; Missions



Messages fill our days. We can get ‘messaged out!’ Between text messages, email messages, voice mail message, and phone calls to say nothing of the many messages receive in person, snail mail, & ‘body-language messages’ from those we interact with, we are all on ‘message overload.’ Any overload can cause us to shut down if not shut off.

However, there are messages which seem to break through the overload. In the past month, that has happen with me (and perhaps us) in several different ways. Last Sunday evening, when June called me about Henry’s death, two-weeks ago last Friday when Deb called me about the death of a first cousin with whom we were pretty close at one time, and then a month ago when we received the call that Jonathon was to have not one, but several surgical procedures on that following Mondays. Somehow, those important messages seem to penetrate our defense mechanisms and focus our attention on the ‘matters’ which truly demand our focus.

It is easy to focus when the message we receive comes from a specific person or with a certain sound in their voice. Can you imagine being one of these ladies at the tomb on that Resurrection morning? In another gospel we are told that they converse about ‘who would roll the stone’ so I think it is a safe guess to say that ‘they didn’t expect a man to be sitting on the stone.’ And for good measure, the man had a message for them. I suggest that the message from the angel at the tomb of Jesus could serve to give and teach us things which we need today.

If I give you the simple outline of the angel’s message here it is; “Do not fear, He is not here; He’s alive, tell it till all hear.” Make no mistake there is much more in the details. Let’s dig just for a few minute.


What was there to make them afraid? First, there is a grave. Death makes us afraid. Generally people don't want to go to the grave yard at 'dawn.' (Which dawn – 12 or 24 hour day) Next, a grave that is supposed to be occupied is actually 'opened'. That would give a person the 'heebie-jeebies'! If that is not enough, there is this guy who is supernaturally 'illuminated' (that mean 'bright') is there. With the mysticism of that day (and even today), can anyone say the word, "GHOST"? Ghostbusters! Next, look at the guards - these are Roman Centurions, hardened from training and service, they are lying on the ground so afraid to move that they look like 'dead men.' So the ladies walk up on a picture which looks something like this; as they come into sight of the tomb, from a distance they can see the stone blocking the tomb has been rolled back up the hill into its original position.

Getting closer, they see the bodies of the Roman guards strewed around on the ground looking dead. Then they notice that the guards are not dead, rather they are shaking from fright. “What could have happened which would have so frightened a group of hardened Roman soldiers?” Getting closer to the entrance of the tomb, they now notice an aura of light around this 2 ton stone. Quickly they see that this light is emanating from a 'man.' (Matthew records him sitting on the stone while other gospels say he was 'inside' the tomb. With all of the emotion of the day, this difference is understandable. The larger truth is this guy who is dressed in heavenly brilliance has been sent to bring to this people a heavenly message) Here’s the question - Is it any wonder that the angel began with 'fear not?"

However, don’t miss that truth that almost every time a human encounters a heavenly being, the angel almost always begins with "Don't be afraid." It is in the present of the ‘heavenly’ that we who are earthly realize just how frail we are. The arrogance of humankind keeps breeds the thought that we are something that we are not. When we look around & do a comparison with other people, we get proud and arrogance. However, faced with an eternal being, we need to hear, “Don’t be afraid.” One of the first steps toward a relationship with God through Jesus is hear Him say, “Don’t’ be afraid.” Here’s how it happens; you come into His presence, in fact, you are drawn into His presence by His Holy Spirit working in you. In that moment, you will realize what “HE IS” and what “YOUR NOT.” It’s very humbling. Then, you will hear His words “don’t be afraid.”


Have you ever really thought about this part of the message? No one was expecting Jesus to be resurrected, especially these women. Here they are, at the tomb, at ‘dawn’! It matters not when it was, what does matter is that these ladies had arranged their schedule and their lives to see ‘body’ of Jesus. It had not occurred to them that He would be alive! Now, with their mindset, imagine coming to the grave, seeing all these sights, and then hearing this ‘ghostly-godly’ man say, “He is not here” what would you think or say? I know what I would have said, “He isn’t here? Then, where is He? Who took Him? Where did they take Him? Why did they move Him?” The list of questions goes on and on and on but it doesn’t matter what you ask or how you ask it, “HE IS STILL NOT IN THE GRAVE”. You can look for a dead Jesus all you want, you can search all those places where you ‘think’ He should be and you won’t find Him. Generally, He’s not where we think.

Today people seem to be still looking for a dead Jesus. They don’t think He’s powerful enough to heal their hurts, to right their relationship, to overcome their past, to mend their marriages, or to lead them in a daily life that is exciting, enjoyable, and exceptional. Many seem to think that Jesus is in the place which brings about a boring, uneventful & dull life. Yet Jesus is the source of life. Paul writes that the ‘First man, Adam, became a living being while the ‘last Adam’ (Jesus) became a life-giving Spirit. Jesus said, “I have come that you might have life to the fullest.” Jesus was not there in the grave that morning and He is not where sin and death ‘abounds.’

Jesus is not present when we reside in sin or try to rationalize our sin as being okay, or attempt to convince others that sin is okay. He is not here when we try to make the sell that we don’t have to change to be like Him. The angel said, “Don’t be afraid because He is not here (where you think He should be” and the implication is “hold on” -


if I take a little liberty here, I can imagine this conversation between the women & the angel. The angel, “Don’t fear, He is not here, He’s alive.” The women, “But they hung Him on a cross”. The angel, “Don’t fear, He is not here, He’s alive.” “But they plunged the spear in His side.” The angel, “Don’t fear, He is not here, He’s alive.” “But we saw Him die.” The angel, “Don’t fear, He is not here, He’s alive.” “But they rolled the stone over the grave.” The angel, “Don’t fear, He is not here, He’s alive.” “But the guards.” The angel, “Don’t fear, He is not here, He’s alive.” “BUT.” The angel, “Would you listen, Don’t fear, He is not here, He’s alive.” Now, I understand that this conversation may not have happened, but an exchange like this reminds us that JESUS IS ALIVE. Do you believe that? If you don’t, it doesn’t really matter because it doesn’t really change anything. Jesus is still alive. Never forget that the tombs of Joseph Smith, Mohammed, Confucius, Buddha, and the rest are all occupied. We can visit the grave of Jesus but it’s empty.

Some of the more intellectual types ask, “How exactly, did God raise Jesus from the dead?” Here is my simplistic answer for you. We just sang it. God simply said, “Arise My Love” and with those three words the sting of death & the grave was defeated!

Not only did Jesus rise from the dead, but He has predicted He would be killed and rise from the dead. Here is the best news I can give you today. Because HE lives, you too can live. (Salvation calls – Eph, Romans, John). These ladies got one thing right, they came looking, seeking, & searching for Jesus and they found Him. You won’t find Him until you seek Him.


(Till All Hear) – In the context of this story, the buzz began as a whisper, “Jesus is Alive”. It grew into conversation, “Jesus is alive!”

At Pentecost, some 40 days later, it grew into a shout which 3000 people heard and responded to, “JESUS IS ALIVE!” And based on the words of Christ the message should be trumpeted out until all know that Jesus is alive.

Have you found Jesus? Has Jesus found you? Have you met Jesus? Has Jesus met you? Has Jesus changed you? If He has, who have you told? The hymn writer wrote, “Your life’s a book before their eyes, they’re reading it through and through. Does it point them to the skies; do others see Jesus in you?” Of all the things we are called to do, we are called to tell this good news, to repeat the message of the angel. We do this until everyone has been given the opportunity to come to faith in Christ.

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