Angels at Jesus Christ’s Resurrection on Easter
What Did Angels Do On The First Easter?
By Whitney Hopler, About.com Guide
The Bible records that it was an angel who announced that a miracle happened on the first Easter: Jesus Christ, who had died by crucifixion three days earlier and was buried, rose out of his tomb alive again. Jesus’ death was a sacrifice to pay for the sins of fallen humanity, to make it possible for them to connect with a holy God, the Bible says. Jesus’ resurrection was a miracle meant to show people the real hope that they have of eternal life with God through relationships with Jesus, according to the Bible.
All four of the Bible’s Gospel books (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) describe the first Easter — the day of Jesus Christ’s resurrection. Matthew 28: 1-7 records: "After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary [the mother of a disciple named James] went to look at the tomb. 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. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”
In his book Peace with God: The Secret of Happiness, Billy Graham writes: “…the angel gives the greatest, most glorious news that the human ear has ever heard, ‘He is not here; he has risen.’” The women who encountered the angel responded to his dramatic announcement this way: “So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples” (Matthew 28:8).
Author Ron Rhodes comments in his book Angels Among Us: Separating Fact from Fiction that the angels in heaven must have been excited about the resurrection, as well: “Imagine the deafening cheers and applause that must have broken out among the angels at the moment of the resurrection. … What an awesome moment it must have been when Christ, clothed in a glorified human body, returned to heaven, his natural habitat. What shouts of glory must have been heard among the cherubim, seraphim, dominions, thrones, powers, and authorities of heaven!”
The angel who announced Jesus Christ’s resurrection was one of two angels present in his tomb on the first Easter. Luke chapter 24 describes the angels asking the women at the tomb: “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” (verse 5) and then challenging them to have faith that Jesus fulfilled his promise to rise from the dead: “He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ’The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.” (verses 6-7). Verse 8 records that, “Then they remembered his words.”
Soon after encountering the angels, the women encountered the resurrected Jesus himself. John chapter 20 records that Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene immediately after she talked with angels: "Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”. “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there…" (verses 11-14).
Jesus then appeared many different times over a period of 40 days to a wide variety of people, before ascending to heaven accompanied by angels, the Bible records. In her book Angels in Our Lives: Everything You’ve Always Wanted to Know About Angels and How They Affect Our Lives, Marie Chapian writes: “After Jesus was crucified, he rose from the dead and walked the earth in his resurrected body for 40 days. Well over 500 people witnessed his appearance during this time as Jesus ate, drank, taught, and fellowshipped with his followers. Then on the 41st day, as his disciples stood watching in awe, Jesus was lifted bodily up to heaven. The Bible says, ‘And while they were gazing intently into heaven as he went, behold, two men [dressed] in white robes suddenly stood beside them’ (Acts 1:10, AMP). The angels told the disciples that Jesus would return in exactly the same way they were seeing him ascend.”