What an unexpected turn of events. The women approach the tomb as part of their mourning process. The stone was in place, but just to be near where Jesus was buried brought some comfort to them. Their hearts were breaking.
But now… now! Now the stone is rolled away so witnesses could enter and testify to what they saw (and heard). The tomb is empty! How can that be? Can it be? The angel addresses them, “Don’t be afraid.” further, “He is not here; he is risen!”
As they leave to tell the disciples, notice that they were filled with fear and great joy. What a mix of emotions. Is he dead? No. Where is he? We don’t know. How can this be? We don’t know.
Then Jesus himself appears to them. The result is worship of this one who is far more than even they imagined. And Jesus’ first words: “Don’t be afraid.” This is good news. Shocking? Yes, but still good news for them, and for all people. “Don’t be afraid.”
Will the Easter story seem fresh to us? Will we meet it with expectant eyes and hearts? Are we at times afraid? Perhaps our fear is more of what others think about our faith than fear of the God of our faith. Regardless, this is good news. Without the resurrection there is no Christian faith. With the resurrection, we have enough that even death itself cannot hold us captive. That is good news, indeed!