After the Sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, 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, approached, rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. His appearance was like lightning and his clothing was white as snow. The guards were shaken with fear of him and became like dead men. Then the angel said to the women in reply, “Do not be afraid! I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified. He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead, and he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him.’ Behold, I have told you.” Then they went away quickly from the tomb, fearful yet overjoyed, and ran to announce this to his disciples. Then they went away quickly from the tomb, fearful yet overjoyed, and ran to announce this to his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them on their way and greeted them. They approached, embraced his feet, and did him homage. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”- Matthew 28:1-10
Do not be afraid. We can trust and heed these words of both the angel and Christ precisely because of the words "he is not here, for he has been raised just as he said." The Resurrection makes all the difference in the world, for it means we do not simply follow a good moral teacher or enlightened guru but the Son of God himself, who has conquered both sin and the grave, who gave his life that we might live.
Do not be afraid. The empty tomb proves that everything else Jesus said during his earthly ministry is true. Not maybe true, or possibly true, but True. It proves that we can be reconciled to God and have everlasting life with him in Heaven. Knowing this, what have we to fear?
Do not be afraid. This Easter, as we celebrate the Resurrection of the Savior, do not let the moment simply pass by. Return to him who created you and loves you with a perfect and everlasting love. As the apostle John wrote, "There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear" (1 John 4:18).
Do not be afraid. Finally, in perhaps the best summation of all I have written, heed the words of Jesus himself: "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid" (John 14:27 ESV).
For He is Risen. He is Risen indeed!