” He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. “
– Matthew 28:6 –
Commentary by Enduring Word
He is not here, for He is risen: For the first time, the followers of Jesus – these faithful women – heard what they did not expect to hear. They heard that Jesus was not in the tomb, but risen to resurrection life.
There are several examples in the Bible of people being resuscitated before this, such as the widow’s son in the days of Elijah (1 Kings 17:17-24) and Lazarus (John 11:38-44). Each of these was resuscitated from death, but none of them were resurrected. Each of them was raised in the same body they died in, and raised from the dead to eventually die again. Resurrection isn’t just living again; it is living again in a new body, based on our old body, perfectly suited for life in eternity. Jesus was not the first one brought back from the dead, but He was the first one resurrected.
We should also say that Jesus still is risen. He ascended into heaven and continues to reign as resurrected man, still fully man and fully God.
In Israel, one may see many graves and tombs – there is an ocean of tombs on the Mount of Olives, and vast sea of graves outside the eastern wall of the temple mount. You can see the tomb of Rebekka, the tomb of David, the tomb of Absalom – but you won’t find the tomb of Jesus anywhere. He is not here.
As He said reminded these women – and all the disciples – that they should have expected this. It was just what He promised.
Come, see the place where the Lord lay: The stone was not rolled away to let Jesus out. John 20:19 tells us that Jesus, in His resurrection body, could pass through material barriers. It was rolled away so that others could see in and be persuaded that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead.
“The invitation to see the place where he lay is appropriately addressed to the same people who had watched the body being deposited – so there is no possibility of a mistake.” (France)
“Come and see the niche in which he was laid-it is now empty; nor was there any other body in the place, for the tomb was a new one, in which no man had ever been laid, John 19:41; so there could be no deception in the case.” (Clarke)
The fact of the resurrection is clear enough. We must also grapple with the meaning of the resurrection. Simply, Jesus’ resurrection proved that His death was an actual propitiation for sin and that the Father had accepted it as such. The cross was the payment, the resurrection the receipt, proving that the payment was fully accepted.
Those women were later grateful that the angel told them to see the place where they laid Him. It would have – it should have – been enough to merely hear the testimony of the angel. Nevertheless, when they saw it, it gave them ground to stand on even more solid than the testimony of an angel. “One eye-witness is better than twenty ear-witnesses; men will believe what you have seen if they do not believe what you have heard.” (Spurgeon)
· When we see the place where they laid Him, we see that the Father did not forsake Jesus
· When we see the place where they laid Him, we see that death is conquered
· When we see the place where they laid Him, we see that we have a living friend in Jesus