Afraid, Yet Filled with Joy
In particular, 5 words from that verse: “…afraid, yet filled with joy…” (28:8)
These 5 words tell me that the angel at the empty tomb was not cute.
Well, these 5 words explain the emotional state of Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, following a miraculous conversation with an angel, finding out that their Lord had risen from the dead.
Allow me to explain.
The angel caused this emotional state.
So let’s look at pre-verse 8: “…an angel of the Lord came down from heaven…” (28:2) The Angel is an important factor to the “afraid” emotion, because the experience is terrifying for these two women.
First, God only sends an angel when something really important is going to take place or has taken place. Considering Christ’s resurrection is the greatest event in history, you know the angel must have been awesome.
As a side note, the Gospels of Luke and John mention that there were two angels at the empty tomb. Nevertheless, I’ll be focusing on the one mentioned in Matthew.
So, the two Mary’s are in sorrow over Jesus’ death.
They go to the tomb, then boom; a violent earthquake and an angel comes down from heaven. I’d be terrified already, but this angel; he appears like lightning and his clothes are as white as snow.
This guy was shining like the sun; again, terrifying! It gets better though; he grabs that big old stone, rolls it back and sits on top of it. That is awesome.
And it just keeps getting better!
The two guards, they stroked out or something. I don’t even know what happens to those guys. Verse 4 says they were “like dead men.” “Like dead men”; what does that even look like?
Whatever it was that happened to these guards, I guarantee it wasn’t pretty. This would have added to the women terror, I’m sure.
So we got the two guards laying comatose, the angel’s sitting up on his rock beaming like lightning and here’s the best part: What’s he say while he’s perched on the giant stone? “Don’t be afraid.”
Can you imagine what the women thought?
I know what I’d be thinking:
“Don’t be afraid? Too late angel! Look at these two guards! Who knows if they’re ever going to recover? Who knows if we’ll ever recover? Listen Angel, the next time, before you flying down here with all your lightning, maybe start with ‘Don’t be afraid’? You are terrifying!”
Angels can’t be cute.
Let’s face it; throughout Scripture the first thing angels say when they show up is “Don’t be afraid.” Pretty sure that means that they didn’t look like the cute little cupid angels that we see marketed all over the Western World.
If they showed like the picture above; well first, that angel is not rolling back a giant stone. I guess he could solely through God’s power, but they wouldn’t have to reassure anyone with “Don’t be afraid!”
The two women would be like, “No, we’re good.” And the guards would still be standing there. But then again, for some of you, maybe this little guy is terrifying?
The angel’s words bring joy.
Thankfully, though the first experience with the angel was frightening, the angel’s message brings these two women from fear to a mix of fear and joy.
The angel reveals the miracle above all miracles, that Jesus Christ has beaten death, has risen and He is alive! And the 2 Mary’s need to hurry and get the word out to the disciples. Which brings us back to our focus: “…afraid, yet filled with joy…” (28:8)
The angel at the empty tomb was not cute.
Join the Conversation, Leave Your Thoughts
Describe what you think angels look like? Other than Christ’s resurrection, what other Biblical descriptions do we have?