Jesus didn’t need an Angel to roll away the tombstone, but one did.
Matthew 28: 1-4
After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it.3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow.4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
Opening a door for your date, or a stranger, can be a confusing moment for any man in today’s world where women are recognised as being equal and as capable as their male counterparts. It is sometimes hard for a man to know whether he should make the gesture or not (for fear of being ridiculed by someone who doesn’t appreciate it). Opening the door for a woman is not an indication that girls can’t open doors themselves, but rather an act of respect and care. The guidelines for male etiquette on opening a door recommend keeping it natural – don’t rush to the door to make sure you arrive first, but if you are there then open the door (or hold it open) for your companion to walk through. This curtesy extends to other men and any one carrying a pile of books. It’s polite to hold the door open, but not a sign that the other person couldn’t manage without you. People are free to accept the gesture, or indicate that they prefer to manage themselves. The right to open the door, and the right to refuse assistance, should all be acknowledged with grace and respect.
In today’s reading we see that an angel came and rolled the stone away from the door of the tomb on the third day after Jesus’s resurrection. He then sat on the stone for all to see. Why send an angel? Jesus had just risen from the dead – he was perfectly capable of rolling a stone away. It’s not a question of whether Jesus could or couldn’t roll the stone away, but a mark of respect that the stone was rolled away by an angel for Jesus. Jesus’s resurrection was an important day in the history of mankind. It is fitting that an Angel (or two, based on other passages) was present to celebrate the moment. It also achieved a few other things: scaring off the Roman soldiers (it appears that they may have left before Jesus arose); showing the world that Jesus had risen (if Jesus had walked through the stone and the stone stayed in place, his resurrection may have been questioned). There is also some thought that the angel served to ensure that no other ‘body’ was put in the tomb once the disappearance of Jesus was discovered.
After his resurrection, Jesus told the disciples to go into all the world, preaching the gospel so that all might know of Him (Matthew 28:19). We are also called to intercede on the behalf of people around us who need God’s healing or comfort (Acts 1:14). Similarly, to the rolling away of the stone, Jesus doesn’t need us to be a part of this plan. The desire to involve us shows His commitment to include us as part of the family of God. Allowing this involvement is not a sign of weakness on the part of Jesus, but a sign of his willingness to work closely with us.
Head: Can you think of a time when God has used your help to bless or support another person?
Heart: How do you feel about the responsibility Jesus has given us to be a part of this work here on earth? Are you overwhelmed by it, or rejoicing in it?
Hands: Are you receptive to opportunities to represent Jesus in your every day, by praying, sharing the Gospel or physically providing assistance to a person in need?
Prayer: Thank you Jesus for rising again, for your omnipotence and omnipresence. Thank you that despite your ability to make all things happen according to your Will, you have chosen that we should work with you, to pray and be obedient to your calling. Please help me to respect this privilege and responsibility, by making myself available to carry out your work with those around me. Show me today who I might pray for, and who I might speak with, as your ambassador. Amen.
A song to listen to: Blessed Assurance https://open.spotify.com/track/41iTybeZlSGdEKUaEYz8Ye