He is not here – He is alive!

5:35.That’s what time I woke this morning.

We stayed up late last night. Saturday was a nice day for Familie Dove. Time in the city, time with friends, a cookout on the landlord’s rooftop patio, and another episode of the Bible miniseries, plus a good bit of baking to prepare for Easter breakfast and a beach cookout with friends later today. And once the boys were tucked in, Zack and I watched an episode of one of our current favorite shows on Netflix.

That usually means a morning where I drag myself out of bed. But I woke up early. The sky was already light, with faint streaks of purple. I rubbed my eyes, and realized it was Easter morning.

And my mind wandered to the thought of two ladies who awoke early on this morning so many years ago. They got up and walked to the garden, to the tomb where the man they loved so dearly had been laid just two days earlier. I imagine it all still seemed unreal. The events of that long Friday were likely still running fresh through their minds. The images probably haunted their dreams, and their waking thoughts as well. He was surely God’s Son, and yet, He was gone.

Maybe they walked in silence, unable to put all they had seen into words. Or perhaps they were sharing favorite stories about their beloved Jesus.

They were likely reeling from it all. The Gospel of Matthew tells us they had been standing there as the stone had been rolled over the face of the tomb. As the guards had been placed there, to ensure no one stole His body to falsely claim His resurrection.

I wonder if there was uncertainty as they walked that morning. They had wanted to visit earlier, but the Sabbath was the day before, so law dictated that their task must wait until Sunday. But were they concerned that the guards might not even allow them to enter the tomb?

So many emotions, so much grief and pain.

And yet, the emotional trauma they experienced on Friday was nothing compared to what they were walking into. Their heartache would soon be replaced by happiness, their grief overrun by gladness.

The morning took away their mourning, and in its place gave them reason to rejoice!

Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to visit the tomb. Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it. His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint. Then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying. (Matthew 28:1-6 NLT)

Death has been defeated! Thank you, God. Because of your Son, we have hope.  Thank you, Jesus. You didn’t deserve it, but You took our place.

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