Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. Matthew 28:1-3
A large stone, bigger than a door and heavier than a car, was placed over the opening of a tomb to prevent grave robbers from stealing the body of a dead person, or from taking valuables that had belonged to the dead person. In the case of Jesus, the Pharisees were worried Jesus' disciples would take the body and say that Jesus had risen from the dead. In order to prevent this, Pilate had posted soldiers to guard the tomb. He even had the soldiers close the tomb with an official Roman seal on the edge of the huge stone. Pilate was sure this would keep the disciples from taking the body of Jesus because the penalty for breaking this seal was death. And the Roman soldiers also knew that the penalty for them was death if anyone broke the seal during their watch.
When Mary Magdalene and the other Mary arrived at the tomb of Jesus to anoint His body with spices, they saw that the stone had been rolled away, the guards were gone, and the grave was empty, except for Jesus' grave clothes! They were fearful and didn't know what to do. If only they had remembered that Jesus told them He would rise from the dead, they would have been filled with faith rather than confusion. How many times have I been like the two Marys? How many times have I forgotten His words to me?
When we don't remember God's Word (the Bible), we too, are fearful and confused. God wants us to remember His words. They give us faith, hope, joy, courage, and direction in this scary, confusing world in which we live. Words about the stone being miraculously rolled away and about Jesus' resurrection from the dead are the most encouraging and hope-giving words a Christian could ever hear!