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An unwavering devotion

Rev. Charles Oppong-Poku | October 6, 2023 | 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. Matthew 28:1(NIV)


After the darkness and agony of the previous chapter, Matthew 28 is filled with life, worship and dismay. Jesus died on the cross and was buried before sundown in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. The chief priests and elders received permission from Pilate to post a guard of Roman soldiers at the tomb to keep the body from being stolen. They did not want Jesus' followers to be able to claim He had been resurrected (Matthew 27:57-66).

Today’s passage reveals the powerful message conveyed by the events at the tomb. In this, we encounter the women, the angel, and the guards, each revealing a significant aspect of this astonishing moment. The introduction of Matthew for the Resurrection narrative indicates that the women, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to “see” the tomb. This “seeing” means they came to show their devotion to their Lord who was dead. The idea continues from Matthew 27:61 - “Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb”. The women were devoted followers of Jesus. They had been with Him through His ministry, and His crucifixion, and now, they come to the tomb. Their unwavering faith teaches us the importance of remaining faithful to Jesus in all circumstances, even when it seems like all hope is lost.

There is a descent of the angel which brings about an earthquake and the lifelessness of the guards. There was already one earthquake following Jesus’ death. Added to that, this second earthquake connects the death and the resurrection as a single event in God’s salvation history. The angel's descent was a heavenly announcement of God’s sovereignty. His very presence demonstrated the authority and power of God. The guards, hardened by their training, were overcome by fear in the presence of God's divine messenger. The seal placed on the tomb was broken, signifying that no human power could contain Jesus. The stone was rolled away not to let Jesus out, but to let the world in – to witness the resurrection.


The events at the tomb convey a powerful message to us today. The women's faithfulness, the angelic visitation, and the trembling guards all emphasize the divine nature of the resurrection story. As we reflect on this passage, let us remember that the seal is broken, the stone is rolled away, and the tomb is empty. The unwavering devotion of the women teaches us about persistence in seeking Jesus, faithfulness in times of grief, and the privilege of witnessing the miraculous. Their example should inspire us to deepen our relationship with Christ, remain faithful through life’s challenges, and boldly share the gospel with the world


Heavenly Father, we thank You for the incredible message of the empty tomb. Help us to be like the faithful women, unwavering in our devotion to You. May we, like the guards, stand in awe of Your holiness, and, like the angel, demonstrate your power and authority in our lives and ministries. In the matchless name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.



_ DAILY word study: LOOK AT THE TOMB The phrase "look at the tomb" is translated from the following Greek words:

"ἰδοὺ" (idou): This is an interjection often used to draw attention, akin to saying "behold" or "look." It signals the importance of what follows.

"ὁ τάφος" (ho taphos): This refers to the tomb or sepulchre where Jesus had been laid after His crucifixion.

While the specific phrase "look at the tomb" may not be a common biblical expression, the concept of visiting the tomb is notable in the Gospels:

  1. In Matthew 28:1-8, it is recorded that the women, including Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, came to the tomb to see the place where Jesus was laid and were met by the angel announcing His resurrection.

  2. In Luke 24:1-12, a similar account is given, with the women visiting the tomb and finding it empty, accompanied by angelic announcements.

In Matthew 28:1, the phrase "look at the tomb" marks a pivotal moment. The women are coming to the tomb with the expectation of finding Jesus' body, unaware of the miraculous events that have transpired. This word study draws our attention:

  1. Expectations and Discoveries: The women's journey to the tomb reflects the human tendency to approach situations with certain expectations. However, their visit to the tomb transforms into a profound discovery of the risen Christ, challenging and surpassing their initial expectations.

  2. Symbolism of the Tomb: The tomb serves as a symbol of death, finality, and the limitations of human understanding. The act of looking at the tomb becomes a powerful metaphor for confronting and grappling with the harsh realities of life.

  3. Shift in Perspective: The women, by looking at the tomb, move from a perspective of grief and loss to one of astonishment and joy as they encounter the reality of Christ's resurrection.

Contemplating the phrase "look at the tomb" invites us to consider how our expectations and perspectives can be reshaped by encountering the living Christ. It challenges us to approach life's challenges and uncertainties with faith, recognizing that God's surprises may surpass our initial understanding.


How has God surprised you or challenged your expectations, leading to a shift in perspective and a deeper understanding of His plans?

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