It’s Sunday morning. On the Friday, the Mary’s had watched to see where Jesus was buried. They then couldn’t do anything further on the Sabbath but on the Sunday, they make their way early to the tomb. We know that the aim of the women was to take spices to anoint the body.
But something changes on route. An angel arrives, an earth tremor strikes, the stone is moved from the tomb and the guards collapse in fear. Then the angel addresses the women. What are the first words of Easter Sunday? Well, they are the same words that we hear from angels throughout scripture.
“Don’t be afraid.”
Of course there was much to cause the Marys to be afraid. There were the shocking events of the past few days, there was what they were about to see at the tomb when they found it empty, there was the whole drama of being caught up in the second earth tremor of the past few days and there was an angel appearing to them.
But here we have the first words of Gospel good news
“don’t be afraid.”
There may be much ahead of us to cause us anxiety as we look towards the next few months. Some readers will be worried and fearful about the potential for another wave of coronavirus and even for those of us confident that the vaccine will do its work, there’s the economic fall out and the social fall out. Fir Christians, there’s the shockwaves still from the Ravi Zacharias and Jonathan Fletcher scandals.
Then there is the fear that sin holds over us. The fear of shame, that our own secrets will come out, the fear of condemnation and the fear of death and judgement.
Christ’s resurrection comes with the assuring words “Do not be afraid.” It is good news for us as we face troubled and uncertain times that whatever future days may hold, Christ has gone ahead of us and conquered the grave. Yes there may be death like experiences to face but we can look to life the other side. As I’ve said many times throughout COVID, we look forward to the fact that #SummerIsComing – not just the physical summer and the easing of lockdown but the final and ternal summer when Christ returns.
Christ’s resurrection means that the fear of shame and condemnation and the sting of death are removed. We know that through his death and resurrection we are free and forgiven.
“There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”
 Matthew 28:5
 Romans 1:1