The Resurrection of Christ (Part 2)
As the women arrive at Jesus' tomb, they see that the stone has been removed. Once Mary Magdalene saw this - "she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and said to them, 'They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him'" (John 20:2). Her statement to Peter and John (who apparently were not with the other apostles) implies that she did not enter the tomb with the other women and speak with the angel (otherwise she would have known that He had been raised). At that moment, she believed that someone had removed Jesus' dead body; she is not even contemplating the idea that He may again be alive.

After Mary Magdalene left the women to go find Peter and John, the other women entered the tomb and "did not find the body of the Lord Jesus" (Luke 24:3). Instead, they "saw a young man clothed in a long white robe sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed" (Mark 16:5). Luke mentions that actually there were two men (i.e., angels, cf. Matt. 28:5), standing by them in shining garments. Presumably Matthew and Mark only mention one angel since he was the active agent (i.e., in removing the rock) and primary speaker (in addressing the women). Regardless, there is no contradiction in only mentioning one angel since none of the accounts state that there was only one angel present. The tomb Jesus was laid in was evidently fairly large. It contained enough space for a body to be laid as well as additional room for at least several people to stand inside.

"Then, as [the women] were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, [the angels] said to them, 'Why do you seek the living among the dead?'" (Luke 24:5). This powerful question would have helped prepare the women for what they were about to hear in the next verse. "He is not here, but is risen!" - These are perhaps the most amazing words that had fallen on human ears up to that time.

"See the place where they laid Him" (Mark 16:6). The angel invites the women to examine the evidence for themselves. He wants them to be convinced that everything is orderly within the tomb. No disciple had been there to remove the body, nor had an enemy pillaged the tomb. In either case, the bandages would no longer have been present. There was only one logical explanation for what they saw!

The women were then encouraged to remember what Jesus had spoken in Galilee - "The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again" (Luke 24:7; cf. Matt. 17:22,23). The disciples should not have been surprised by the course of action that was unfolding (cf. Matt. 24:35). However, they were astonished due to their lack of understanding regarding the nature of Jesus' kingdom.

"But go, tell His disciples--and Peter--that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you" (Mark 16:7; cf. Matt. 26:31,32). The appearance before over 500 brethren was probably what the angel was referring to here (cf. I Cor. 15:6). Although Jesus did appear to some chosen few in Judea, a large body of His disciples would see Him in Galilee (after the Feast of Unleavened Bread concluded and they returned home).

The women were to tell the disciples "quickly" (Matt. 28:7). They were not to endure their sorrow a moment longer than was needful. Peter was probably mentioned by name that he might know that he was not cast off for his denials.

We will continue studying this narrative in our next lesson.