WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
APRIL 4, 2021
TOPIC: WHY DID THE ANGEL ROLL AWAY THE STONE?
BY T. O. BANSO
“Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to see the tomb. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, because an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and rolled aside the stone and sat on it. His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint” (Matthew 28:1-4 New Living Translation).
Matthew 27:65 says Pilate said to the chief priests and Pharisees, “You have a guard; go your way, make it as secure as you know how” (New King James Version). This was his response to their request to make the tomb of Jesus secure until the third day. They wanted to forestall a situation where Jesus’ disciples would come by night and steal Him away, and say to the people that He had risen from the dead! They claimed that the last deception would be worse than the first. What they called the first deception was probably Jesus ‘pretending’ to be the Messiah, a truth they rejected.
The point is that nobody had any plan to steal the body of Jesus. His disciples were actually in hiding. Pilate who had reluctantly handed over Jesus to them to be crucified granted the request of the chief priests and Pharisees. They went and made the tomb secure; they sealed the stone and set the guard to keep watch (verse 66).
What does it mean to seal the stone? The Greek word for sealing in Matthew 27:66 is sphragizo which means “to stamp (with a signet or private mark) for security or preservation.” It also means to authenticate or confirm. In the Old Testament, the word sealed is used in Daniel 6:17. The word translated sealed is chatham (Aramaic), which means to seal. “Then a stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the signets of his lords, that the purpose concerning Daniel might not be changed” (Daniel 6:17 New King James Version).
The stone at the door of the tomb of Jesus was sealed to secure the tomb. Nobody could remove the stone without breaking the seal. Only the person who sealed it could authorize the breaking of the seal. It would be a crime for anyone to remove the seal without authorization. This is similar to when a regulatory authority or an appropriate authority seals up a property putting its seal, stamp, or notice to that effect and an unauthorized person goes there to remove the seal and open the place. This would be a crime.
The chief priests and Pharisees probably sealed the stone with the seal of the Sanhedrin, thus preventing anyone to gain access until the seal is officially broken. Unless the seal was broken, the stone could not be rolled away from anyone to enter the tomb.
On the third day after Jesus’ burial, He rose from the dead. Matthew 28:1-4 says, “Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to see the tomb. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, because an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and rolled aside the stone and sat on it. His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint” (New Living Translation).
Please take note of this phrase in the scripture you’ve just read: an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and rolled aside the stone and sat on it. Why did the angel roll away the stone and sat on it? Many people often think that the angel rolled away the stone so that Jesus could come out of the tomb. This is not correct. The stone that was rolled away was not a barrier to Jesus coming out of the grave. Therefore, the angel didn’t roll away the stone for Jesus.
The Bible says the angel of the Lord rolled away the stone and sat on it. It was as if the angel was waiting for anyone who would challenge him because he didn’t receive anybody’s permission to rolling away the stone! The seal must have been broken in the process. If anyone was in doubt the person who broke the seal, he would meet the angel sitting on the stone!
The resurrection of Jesus demonstrated the indisputable, absolute power of God over the High priest and other religious leaders in Israel, their collaborators in the crucifixion of Jesus, and the guard posted to secure the tomb (Matthew 28:4, 11-15).
The sealed stone was a barrier to Mary Magdalene and the other women to enter the tomb, and without entering the tomb they wouldn’t be able to anoint His body which was their original mission on the morning of Jesus’ resurrection. They were even already worrying about who would help them roll away the stone (Mark 16:3). But when they got to the tomb, the stone had been rolled away.
The angel rolled away the stone to prove that Jesus had actually risen from the dead and the tomb was empty. The stone was rolled away so that it could be obvious that Jesus had resurrected and the tomb was empty. If the stone had not been rolled away, these women would not have been able to gain entry to the tomb to discover that the body of Jesus was ‘missing’ whereas he had resurrected.
Furthermore, without the seal being broken and the stone removed, Peter and the other disciples wouldn’t have been able to enter the tomb, especially with the guards posted there to secure the place. Therefore, they wouldn’t have been aware that Jesus had risen before he began to appear to them. (John 20:1-18; Matthew 28:1, 5-8).
What announced the resurrection of Jesus Christ was the great earthquake and angel’s removal of the sealed stone and the empty tomb! I believe that If Jesus had resurrected quietly with the seal and stone intact and thereafter showed himself to His disciples, the propaganda that he didn’t resurrect would have been worse.
The removal of the sealed stone without human participation tells us that there is no barrier that God can’t remove; there’s no embargo that God can’t lift; there’s nothing that the enemy has done that God can’t undo; there’s no human finality that God can’t overturn. Proverbs 21:30 says, “Human plans, no matter how wise or well advised, cannot stand against the LORD” (New Living Translation). With God, all things are possible (Matthew 19:26b).
Any stone that the enemy has rolled against your life, marriage, health, business, finances, career, destiny, etc. is rolled away now in Jesus. The seal of the devil is broken now in Jesus’ name. The power of resurrection shall break every evil seal on every department of your life and cause life to replace death in Jesus’ name.
The power that raised Jesus from the dead shall give you life. You shall live; your family shall live; your ministry shall live; your destiny shall live, your business shall live, every good thing in your life shall live and not die.
Jesus is risen! Hallelujah! The propaganda of the chief priests and the elders to discredit the truth about His resurrection by bribing the guards to lie that His disciples came at night and stole Him away while they slept, failed woefully (Matthew 28:11-14). For forty days after His crucifixion, Jesus appeared to the apostles from time to time and, by many infallible proofs, presented Himself to them that He was actually alive and talked to them about the Kingdom of God (Acts 1:3).
Jesus is alive forevermore!
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Every stone rolled by the enemy against my life is rolled away and the seal is broken in Jesus’ name. I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me (Galatians 2:20). The Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in me; He who raised Christ from the dead is giving life to my mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in me (Romans 8:11).
(For about 600 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit: www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
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