Devotional for Easter Monday: April 13, 2020
Updated: Apr 15
After sundown, the high priests and Pharisees arranged a meeting with Pilate. They said, “Sir, we just remembered that that liar announced while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will be raised.’ We’ve got to get that tomb sealed until the third day. There’s a good chance his disciples will come and steal the corpse and then go around saying, ‘He’s risen from the dead.’ Then we’ll be worse off than before, the final deceit surpassing the first.”
Pilate told them, “You will have a guard. Go ahead and secure it the best you can.” So, they went out and secured the tomb, sealing the stone and posting guards.
After the Sabbath, as the first light of the new week dawned, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to keep vigil at the tomb. Suddenly the earth reeled and rocked under their feet as God’s angel came down from heaven, coming right up to where they were standing. He rolled back the stone and then sat on it. Shafts of lightning blazed from him. His garments shimmered snow-white. The guards at the tomb were scared to death. They were so frightened, they couldn’t move.
Matthew 27: 62- 28: 4 The Message
Even after Jesus died, the forces against Him did not stop. The chief priests and the Pharisees, the Jewish leaders behind His death, wanted to make sure Jesus would not rise again. They went and spoke to Pilate, who had wanted to wash his hands of everything. Before Jesus was crucified, he had offered to free Jesus. Yet the people cried out for him to release Barabbas instead. Pilate’s heart became hard. Here, Pilate was asked to intervene again. One more, he acquiesced, and agreed to their request to post guards at the tomb.
Even after Jesus died, the forces against Him did not stop. The chief priests and the Pharisees, the Jewish leaders behind His death, wanted to make sure Jesus would not rise again. After their request was granted, the Jewish leaders undoubtedly slept better that night. They felt assured that their plot to keep Jesus in the grave was virtually unstoppable. After all, who would assault a group of Roman guards? At that time, they were part of the most powerful military force in all the world.
But then, Easter morning dawned. Nothing, not even the most powerful military force on earth, could stop God. The message of Easter is that God’s power was, and will always be, greater than any human attempts to defeat Him. God’s love is unstoppable!
In Matthew’s account of the resurrection, there is an earthquake, and an angel rolls away the stone from in front of the tomb. He is described as having an appearance like lightning itself, with his clothing being pure white.
How do the guards react? What do these fearsome warriors do? They don’t do anything! They are scared to death, so frightened that they cannot move. In some translations, they are described as “becoming like dead men.”
The good news of Easter is that even all the forces of evil, and all the might of the Roman empire, could not stop the resurrection.
On Easter, the world learned that nothing can stop our Jesus. No human being could stop the resurrection. When God rolled away the stone, He now gave us the opportunity to let Jesus into our hearts. Nothing can stop God’s love. When we ask Jesus to come into our hearts, we, too, can become like the light. We, too, can show God’s amazing love to others.
In our world today, some believed that Easter would not be celebrated. We as Christians, know that nothing could be further than the truth.
This year, much of what we associate with Easter was stopped: full churches, massed crowds, large happy gatherings of family and friends. Yet the absence of these outward expressions does not change the fact that Jesus was resurrected. Good triumphed over evil. Life defeated death. Love conquered hate!
May the good news of the resurrection dwell in your hearts this Easter Monday, throughout this first week of Easter 2020, and forevermore. Hallelujah! and Amen.
God of resurrection power,
When we are discouraged by the forces of sin and evil, help us to remember the good news of Easter. Nothing in the world can stop Your incredible and eternal love for us. We may not deserve Your love, but You offer it to us anyway. Thank you for Your Son and the love that he showed us, the most powerful force the world has ever known. We pray this prayer in the name of the risen and reigning one, Your son and our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.