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God Takes Command

Matthew 28:1-4
After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. (NIVUK)

The day after Jesus' crucifixion was the Sabbath when no Jew could go to a tomb until after sunset on Saturday. The two women wanted to be there and went to the grave site as the new day was dawning. Their personal love for Jesus and emotional distress led them to see what God's power had achieved. Their role as witnesses in confirming the resurrection was God-arranged.
When they arrived they saw that the circular stone (probably an old mill-stone), which had covered the entrance to the tomb behind the rock face, was rolled back. Had they wished, they could have looked inside. As it was, their attention was drawn to two petrified guards who had been posted to prevent access to the tomb lest the body should be stolen. They had not seen anyone doing that, but Jesus' body had gone. And the angel had an authority about him that kept them rooted to the spot in fear of their lives for failing in their duty.
The Lord had taken command. The angel was making a statement of authority by sitting on the stone. The stone was not rolled away to let Jesus out; He had already gone. The open grave was an invitation for people to see inside and witness what God had done. Jesus had said, "The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life - only to take it up again. No-one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again." (John 10:17-18). On resurrection day He proved His divine relationship with Father God and the futility of standing against Him.
When God takes command those who oppose Him will be full of remorse (Revelation 1:7). Those who do not care will rightly observe that things are out of their control, and they will be afraid. There will be a day when God will take full control of the whole world; and everybody will know it. Until then every glimpse of His glorious power will excite a reaction, for or against the Lord. How we react to His powerful acts or the prospect of meeting Him is an indicator of whether or not we want to be under His command.

Almighty God. Thank You for the power by which Jesus Christ was raised from the dead. I repent of those times in which I have not wanted to be under Your command, or have been fearful because I have tried and failed to control my own circumstances. Please help me to recognise that Jesus is Lord of everything, so that I will gladly submit myself to obey Him. In His Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams