November 23, 2018

The Stone Was Rolled Back

Matthew 28:1-10

There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it.

—  Matthew 28:2

In Matthew’s account of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, there are several references to the tomb that was cut out of rock and the stone that was rolled away. The story of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection is not complete without this incredible detail about the stone being rolled away. This wasn’t just any stone. It was a big wheel chiseled from rock and rolled into a groove in front of the tomb. It would have taken several people to roll it into place and move it out of the way again.

On this topic Charles Spurgeon preached a triumphant sermon called “The Stone Rolled Away.” He reminds us to picture the women walking up to the tomb, bringing spices with them, and wondering who could move the stone for them (Mark 16:1-3). In some ways their wondering sums up many of our questions: How will we ever get past the biggest obstacles in our lives? In all of our paths are huge barriers, immovable stones. Who can move them for us? And yet, when the women arrive, they find the stone moved and an angel sitting on it! There is divine humor here: not only is the big stone no longer an obstacle; it’s a resting place, a sign of triumph, and a foundation of all the best stories to come. The stone has been rolled away!

Lord, roll away the stones of doubt, confusion, and darkness in our lives. Remove whatever stands in the way between us and everlasting life. For yours is the glory forever. Amen.

About the author — Julia Prins Vanderveen

Julia Prins Vanderveen works and lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, with her husband, Trevor, and their three sons. Julia has served as a copastor with Trevor at a church in Vancouver. She is a campus pastor and a humanities teacher at the Vancouver Christian School.

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