When Neil Armstrong leaped to the surface of the moon, he said, “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” In his presidential inauguration, John F. Kennedy is remembered for saying, “My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” Certain quotes stand out in the history of man. But there is not one more important, hopeful, and joyous than the one stated by the angel to the women at Jesus’ tomb. “He is not here: For he is risen, as he said, Come, see the place where the Lord lay” (Matt. 28:6).
That quote is so important because it announced the completion of God’s part of the plan He had devised for man’s salvation. Paul outlined that promising plan to the Corinthians. “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the day according to the scriptures” (1 Cor. 15:3-4). The angel announced that the Lord had been raised from the dead, and then when the day of Pentecost came, through Peter’s sermon, it was made known that the forgiveness of sins was available for all, even for those who had cried aloud, “crucify him.” That salvation is available today for those who will believe in Him, His death, burial and resurrection, and who will repent of sins, confess His name, and be baptized as Peter instructed those on Pentecost to do (Acts 2:38). The announcement made by the angel makes the Armstrong and Kennedy quotes of no importance at all.
The quote of the angel to the women at the tomb, was so very important for another reason. Christ had raised others from the dead, including Lazarus. The disciples had witnessed that. But who could possibly believe, even though Jesus had told them it would happen, that He would be raised from the dead Himself. How could that be possible? God raised Him from the dead, that is how (Rom. 6:4; Gal. 1:1; Eph. 1:17-20; Col. 2:12). Because Christ was raised from the dead, we also have the assurance of resurrection. Jesus declared that Himself in John 5:28-29. Paul spent the entire 15th chapter of First Corinthians testifying of the resurrection of Christ and giving assurance that as He was raised, so shall we be raised in the last day.
The announcement of the resurrection was grand. The hope of heaven is beyond any other that could be imagined. We must spend the time we are given in this life, preparing for that resurrection morning. Christ said that in the same hour both the righteous and the unrighteous will be raised. The first to eternal life, the second to eternal punishment. Let us all use the wonderful news of the resurrection of the Christ to prepare ourselves for that day when we too shall be raised and meet Him in the day of judgment (Acts 17:31; 2 Cor. 5:10).
“He is not here: for he is risen.”