In the early hours of that Sabbath morn came a quake and the earth trembled and Jerusalem was troubled. Out of the skies as a lightning shaft came an angel in white raiment to the sepulcher where Jesus Christ lay buried. He rolled away the great stone and the terrified guards fell as if dead.
And then the dawn was still and beautiful. One by one the stars were doused and a morning carved from heaven broke over the countryside.
In great caution and sadness went Mary Magdalene and Mary of Bethany to the sepulcher to weep once more over their departed Master; perhaps to spread more spices over His body if the stone could be moved. But they were astonished and without words when they saw the stone had been rolled away. Could His body have been stolen away in the night?
Could He now lie in a common grave? The women moved closer and dared to enter. At first they saw nothing. Then a young man whose white garment shattered the tomb's darkness spoke:
"Be not afraid. He is not here, for He is risen as He said."
Frightened, trembling, the women listened. "Go quickly and tell His Disciples that He is risen from the dead. And behold, He goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see Him."
Quickly the women fled to the house where His Disciples were hiding and spread the news.
"They have taken away The Lord out of the tomb, and we know not where they have laid Him!"
Simon Peter and John heard and rushed from the house. John, the younger, came first to the sepulcher and looked past the opening. He saw linen cloth on the ground, but was fearful of entering.
Simon, breathless from his run, arrived and the two Disciples entered the tomb. True, the linens and the white napkin which had been folded around His head were there. And they departed in haste and returned to their house. But Mary lingered and wept. She peered into the sepulcher and saw two angels sitting where His body had been. And they said:
"Woman, why do you weep?"
"Because they have taken away my Lord and I know not where they have laid Him."
Then she turned to go away and Jesus stood nearby, but she did not know Him.
"Woman," He said, "Why do you weep? Whom do you seek?"
But Mary supposed Him to be the gardener and she said:
"Sir, if you have taken Him away, tell me where you have laid Him and I will take Him away."
And Jesus said unto her:
And she rejoiced and cried: "Teacher!"
But He motioned her away and said:
"Touch Me not, for I am not yet ascended unto the Father. But go to My Brethren and say to them, 'I ascend unto My Father, and your Father, and My God and your God'."
Mary arose and rushed to the Disciples, exclaiming:
"I have seen The Lord!"
The word spread and Matthew told that dazed guards reported the Resurrection to High Priests and Scribes. In hurried counsel with the Elders it was decided to give the guards much money and say unto them: "If questioned, say, 'His Disciples came by night and stole Him away while we slept'."
Soon, two friends of Jesus, who had been in the house with His Disciples, journeyed afoot to nearby Emmaus and were talking of events of the past few days in Jerusalem. A shadow fell across their path and they turned to see a stranger. He inquired of their conversation and they told Him the story of Jesus' suffering and the reports of His Resurrection. But of the last, they spoke in doubt.
And then the stranger started from Moses and quoted from all the Prophets in interpreting the Scriptures. Soon they arrived in Emmaus and He sat down with them. The bread was broken!
In astonishment they looked and they knew it was He! And then He vanished. Straightway they returned to Jerusalem and burst into the house of the Disciples, saying: 'The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon!"
And while the eleven Disciples heard in wonderment, He appeared in the doorway. One by one He looked at them and then He said: "Peace be unto you." The Disciples were frightened and feared they had seen a spirit. "Why are ye troubled and why do questionings arise in your hearts? See My hands and feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye behold Me having." He lifted His hands and showed them His feet. The scars of crucifixion were still there. He opened his garment and the mark of the spear was on His side.
In joy they still disbelieved, and He asked for meat. And He took it and ate. They believed.
"Peace be unto you. As the Father hath sent Me, even so send I you. Receive ye the Holy Spirit. Whosoever sins ye forgive, they are forgiven unto you. Whosoever sins ye retain, they are retained..."
They believed and went out to carry His gospel into every land. And out of the heaven seemed to come words reminiscent of His baptism: "This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased..."
For a musical adapatation of the events of Holy Week, check out this video: