Today's verses are Mark 16:5,6: "And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed.  And he said to them, 'Do not be alarmed.  You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified.  He has risen; he is not here.  See the place where they laid him.'" Three women, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome, arrive at the tomb where they had seen Jesus' body laid.  They wanted to anoint his dead body. Their biggest concern was the huge, two ton stone that covered the entrance to the tomb.  Upon arrival, they see that the stone had been rolled back.

They enter the tomb, looking from left to right.  On the right side is sitting an angel from God, dressed in a white robe.  They are alarmed, startled to see the heavenly messenger.

Apparently, in the Bible, angels have two primary purposes,  First, they worship God (see Isaiah 6).  They thoroughly enjoy hovering around the throne of God and worshiping him.  Second, they work for God.  They do his bidding, especially for God's saints (Hebrews 1:14).  The word "angel" means "messenger."  They are often God's messengers, delivering his words to his people when necessary.

Here, this angel is God's messenger to these three women.  He tells them not to be alarmed.  He confirms that Jesus is not in the tomb, but is risen from the dead, as he prophesied on several occasions (Mark 8:31;9:9,31;10:32-34;14:25).  He even invites them (and I think with a giggle and lilt in in his voice) to explore the empty tomb.  He encourages them to look all around, in every nook and corner, and find that he is not there.  He is risen indeed!

I love this truth about the resurrection I once heard from someone: the large stone was not removed by God to let Jesus out, but to let us in!  The stone's removal was not a problem for God.  The One who created all the world with a word would have no problem moving a huge stone.  But the stone's removal was to let these three women, and you and me, and all people everywhere, into the tomb.  God removed the stone so that everyone everywhere could see that the tomb was empty.

It's as if the heavenly messenger was saying, "You can't keep a good God down!  Sin cannot defeat his love.  Death has now been conquered.  Hate cannot control his heart.  His forgiveness will conquer death.  The proof that Jesus is God is his resurrection.  Look all around the empty tomb.  He is nowhere to be found.  He is risen!  He is alive!  Hallelujah for the Lord our God the almighty reigns!"

If you feel despair, discouragement or hopelessness today, look into the empty tomb.  Examine every square inch of it in your mind.  When you do, you'll find, once again, it is empty!  Jesus is Lord over all.  He is Lord over your problems.  You can trust him that all is in his hands.  He is in control.  Do not be alarmed or fearful of anything.

Why?  Because the stone is removed.  The tomb is empty.  He is risen!