Sunday, March 27, 2016

He Is Not Here, for He Has Risen

Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went 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 and sat on it.  His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow.  And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men.  But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified.  He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.  Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him.  See, I have told you.”  So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples.  (Mt 28:1-8)

After the resurrection came the angel. Why then did he come he, and take away the stone?  Because of the women, for they themselves had seen Him then in the tomb.  Therefore that they might believe that He was risen again, they see the tomb void of the body.  For this reason he removed the stone.  For this reason also an earthquake took place, that they might be thoroughly aroused and awakened.  For they had come to pour oil on Him, and these things were done at night, and it is likely that some also had become drowsy.  And for what intent and reason does he say, “Fear not?”  First he delivers them from the dread, and then tells them of the resurrection.  And the ye is of one showing them great honor, and indicating, that extreme punishment awaits them that had dared to do, what the others had dared, except they repented.  For to be afraid is not for you, he means, but for them that crucified Him.

Having delivered them then from the fear both by his words, and by his appearance (for his form he showed bright, as bearing such good tidings), he went on to say, “I know that you seek Jesus the Crucified.”  And he is not ashamed to call Him “crucified” for this is the chief of the blessings.

“He is risen.”  How is it evident?  “As He said.”  So that if you refuse to believe me, he would say, remember His words, and neither will you disbelieve me.  Then also another proof, “Come and see the place where He lay.”  For this he had rolled away the stone, in order that from this too they might receive the proof.  “And tell His disciples, that you shall see Him in Galilee.”  And he prepares them to bear good tidings to others, which thing most of all made them believe.  And He said well “in Galilee,” freeing them from troubles and dangers, so that fear should not hinder their faith.

“And they departed from the tomb with fear and joy.”  Why could this be? They had seen a thing amazing, and beyond expectation, a tomb empty, where they had before seen Him laid.  Therefore also he had led them to the sight, that they might become witnesses of both things, both of His tomb, and of His resurrection.  For they considered that no man could have taken Him, when so many soldiers were sitting by Him, unless He raised up Himself.  For this reason also they rejoice and wonder, and receive the reward of continuing with Him, that they should first see and gladly declare, not only what had been said, but also what they had seen.

John Chrysostom, Homilies on Matthew 89.2

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