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A God Nod

I love, what I call, “Little God Nods”. Those little confirmations along the way.

Let me explain. About a week ago as I was looking something up in my Bible. I came across the following in Matthew.

“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 as white as snow. And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men.” Matthew 28:1-4 NKJV We all know the story, right? Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24 and John 20 all speak about the crucifixion and the resurrection. But, it was not until last week that something stuck me.

I don’t know about you, but I always had the impression that the angel rolled back the stone to allow Jesus to exit the tomb. But reading Matthew last week, I realized that is not what Matthew says.

Let’s look again.

1) Early Sunday morning the two Mary’s approached the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body with oil; to give Him a proper burial.

2) There was a big earthquake. Why?

3) Because an angel came down from heaven

4) The angel rolled the stone away and sat on it

5) The guards fainted

Verses 5 and 6 go on to say: “But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.”

When the angel rolled away the stone, Jesus was already gone! God did not need help getting out of the tomb!

If I may be so bold, it sounds like the two Mary’s witnessed the rolling away of the stone, at least from Matthew’s perspective.

And now for the “God Nod”.

For worship this Monday I read from Max Lucado’s 3:16 The Numbers of Hope. I could have read this at any time, but God’s timing is always perfect. Here I was, just days prior, having reread this account of the resurrection in Matthew and I had begun to wonder "Did the women witness the rolling away of the stone?" Then this from the chapter titled “It’s All Right to Dream Again:

“Mary, the mother of James, and Mary Magdalene have come to the tomb to place warm oils on a cold body and bid farewell to the one man who gave reason to their hopes.

“The women think they are alone. They aren’t. They think their journey is unnoticed. They are wrong. God knows. And he has a surprise waiting for them.

“An angel of the Lord came down from heaven, went to the tomb, and rolled the stone away from the entrance” (Matt. 28:2 NCV)

“Why did the angel move the stone? For whom did he roll away the rock?

“For Jesus? That’s what I always thought. But think about it. Did the stone have to be removed in order for Jesus to exit? Did God have to have help? Was the death conqueror so weak that he couldn’t push away a rock?

“I don’t think so. The text gives the impression that Jesus was already out when the stone was moved! For whom, then, was the stone moved?

“Listen to what the angel says: “Come and see the place where his body was” (v. 6 NCV)

“The stone was moved-not for Jesus-but for the women; not so Jesus could come out, but so the women could see in!...”

God nod!

The very thing I had been thinking about and wondering about…right there on the pages of my little devotional!

But wait, there is more. On my way to work this morning, while listening to KLOVE, a song came on and I heard this: “Are you too scared to move and walk out of this tomb?” and then a few seconds later, “Now the door is open wide and the stones been rolled aside.”

God nod!

I ended up calling KLOVE to find out the song title. I spoke with a very nice man by the name of Jared and within 10 seconds he told me what I needed to know.

It’s called Rise Up by Cain and some of the lyrics go like this:

"In the dark and all alone, growing comfortable

Are you too scared to move and walk out of this tomb?

Buried underneath, the lies that you believed

Safe and sound, stuck in the ground

Too lost to be found

You're just asleep and it's time to leave

Come on and rise up, take a breath, you're alive now

Can't you hear the voice of Jesus calling us

Out from the grave like Lazarus

You're brand new, the power of death couldn't hold you

Can't you hear the voice of Jesus calling us

Out from the grave like Lazarus

Rise up, rise up, rise up

Out from the grave like Lazarus

When He said your name, the thing that filled your veins

Was more than blood, it's the kind of love that washes sin away

Now the door is open wide and the stones been rolled aside

The old is gone, the Light has come…"

Whether they witnessed the stone being moved or not really is not important. What is important is what the angel said to them next. “…go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.” So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word.” Matthew 28:7-8 NKHV

He is risen! Our Savior conquered the grave. He rose victorious and because of that victory we can inherit eternal life. Jesus loves us that much. God the Father loves us that much.

“By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us…” 1 John 3:16 NKJV

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