The Risen Jesus Meeting the Women

March 31, 2024 / No. 4239

Dear Radio Friends,

Central in all of history is that wonderful event that took place a couple thousand years ago on the first day of the week. Jesus was raised from the dead. He raised Himself from the dead, just as He said that He would. Then He appeared to some people. Some of those to whom He appeared were women who had come to the sepulcher where He had been buried expecting Him still to be dead. We start at Matthew 28:1 and read through verse 9.

In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: and for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And 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: lo, I have told you. And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.

Now we come to the verse that we will consider (Matt. 28:9): “And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.”

What a change these women experienced. In a very short period of time they went from experiencing deep sorrow to exceeding great joy.

Regardless of any troubles they may have had or any difficulties they may have been facing at that time in their lives, they had joy in their heart. They had great joy! They knew their Savior was alive. Knowing that, they rejoiced in their heart, they worshipped their Lord, and went quickly to bring this wonderful news to others.

Let us consider the wonder of the resurrection of Jesus, His appearance to these women, and how it affected them. Along the way, let us consider how the resurrection of Jesus benefits His people whom He came to save.

The event itself

No one witnessed the moment of the resurrection. Acts 1:3 speaks of how Jesus showed Himself alive by “many infallible proofs.” So there was plenty of proof for the resurrection. Yet no one witnessed the very moment that Jesus’ body was no longer in those grave clothes. That, no one saw.

No human being witnessed God creating all things in six days. Each day consisted of one evening and one morning. When God was creating all things, no human being saw what God was doing.

Similarly, there was not a man, woman, or child who was looking at those grave clothes at the very moment when Jesus’ body went from being in them, to being in them no more.

The bodily resurrection of Jesus was a wonder. It was a wonder that no human being saw with the eyes of the body.

Yet it really happened. On the sixth day of the week Jesus cried, “It is finished.” He died, and the people there knew He was dead. On that same day He was buried and was lying in the grave. On the seventh day, the day of rest, Jesus remained in the grave. Then on the first day of the week, He arose, just as He said that He would.

It was a real, bodily resurrection. His body could be touched. Jesus expressed this. He said: “Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have” (Luke 24:39).

Jesus has a finite human nature. He did then, and He still does.

It is not correct to say, as some do, that Jesus’ body today is omnipresent. With respect to Jesus’ divine nature He is omnipresent. But with respect to His human nature, He is now no longer on earth, but in heaven. His infinite divine nature is beyond the limits of the finite human nature He assumed.

But let us get back to the subject of Jesus’ resurrection. The resurrection of the Lord Jesus differed from, say, the resurrection of Lazarus. When Lazarus was raised from the dead, he returned to this life and later died again. Jesus’ resurrection, however, was not a return to this life. His life is a life on the other side of death. He arose never to die again.

A second difference is this: Lazarus was raised by Jesus, but Jesus raised Himself. Sometimes in Scripture we read that God raised Jesus, but we also read that Jesus raised Himself. The Son of God, who is the second Person of the Trinity, very really raised Himself from the dead.

The women before they knew

Yet the disciples did not expect the resurrection. They did not expect it even though Jesus had spoken of it repeatedly. For example, Jesus had said this to His disciples, “Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again” (Matt. 20:18, 19).

So He told them He would be betrayed, and that the chief priests and scribes would condemn Him to death, and that He would be delivered to the Gentiles who would mock Him and scourge Him, and that He would be crucified. He also told them that He would rise again. He even told them the specific day on which He would arise. He told them repeatedly about His upcoming death and resurrection. Yet even after what He said would happen actually did happen, even after He had been crucified just as He had said that He would be, they still did not expect Him to rise from the dead.

So these women came to the grave expecting Him still to be dead. They had seen the place where He was buried two days before. They had rested on the sabbath day according to the commandment. Then early in the morning, after the sabbath was past, they went to the grave.

They went to the grave with some spices that they had prepared to anoint the body of Jesus (Luke 24:1). It was an act of love to be sure. Yet they should not have been seeking the living among the dead.

As they went to the grave they thought about the big stone that was put in front of the sepulcher. They wondered who was going to roll that stone away from the opening, so that they could get in. Yet when they got close enough to see the stone, they noticed that it had already been rolled away. Earlier that morning an angel had rolled away the stone and had sat upon it.

The stone was rolled away, not so that Jesus could get out, but so that the disciples could get in.

Jesus did not need the stone to be rolled away. The grave clothes were not gone, nor were they in a pile somewhere. Rather, they were in precisely the same position that they had been in before. Yet Jesus’ body was not within them anymore. The fact that Jesus came out of those grave clothes without disturbing them is proof that Jesus did not need the stone to be rolled away for Him to get out of the sepulcher.

Rather, the stone was rolled away so that Jesus’ disciples could get in and see that Jesus’ body was not there. It was rolled away that they might enter and see those grave clothes situated exactly as they were before, but now without the body of Jesus within them. This was one of the infallible proofs of Jesus’ resurrection that God desired the disciples to see.

Hearing the news;

Seeing Jesus

When the women arrived they saw the angels and the place where the Lord had lain. It was an angel who first told them that Jesus had risen. Angels are real. There have not always been angels. The angels were created during that six-day period in which God created the heavens, the earth, and all things that are in them. Angels are different from humans. Human beings who believe in Jesus do not become angels when they die. Right now believers who have died are with Jesus in their souls, and the angels are there as well.

The term angel means messenger, and in Scripture there are a number of places in which we read of a message that an angel or a group of angels brought to one or more people.

It was an angel who said to these women: “He [referring to Jesus] is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay” (Matt. 28:6).

The angel went on to tell them that Jesus Himself would soon be seen. He said: “And 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: lo, I have told you” (Matt. 28:7).

Now they had heard that He was risen, and they had seen that His body was not there. It would not be long before they would see Jesus Himself. As they ran to tell Jesus’ disciples, Jesus Himself met them and said, “All hail.” Literally what He said was one word, “Rejoice.” On the one hand this was a common greeting, yet on this occasion there certainly was great cause for rejoicing.

Worshiping Him

When these women saw and heard Jesus, they came close to Him. They recognized Him.

There were others who did not recognize Jesus at first: Mary Magdalene, the two walking on the road to Emmaus, the disciples who were fishing.

Yet these women did recognize Him. The text says that “they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him” (Matt. 28:9b). That indicated, of course, that they did touch Him.

It is true that Jesus had said to Mary Magdalene, “Touch me not.” But that was not because it was physically impossible to touch Him. Jesus wanted Mary Magdalene to know that He had not returned to this life and that soon He was going to ascend to the Father. After Jesus had said, “Touch me not,” He had gone on to say: “for I am not yet ascended to my Father” (John 20:17b).

Today, of course, we cannot touch Him with our physical hands. Unlike the disciples who saw Jesus with the eye of the body, believers today have not seen Jesus with the physical eye. Physically they have not seen Him, nor have they touched Him.

Yet we who believe in Jesus do embrace Him. We do so spiritually in our spiritual soul. Faith is rightly said to be the hand and mouth of our soul. By faith we really do cling to Christ. We hold on to Him and we worship Him.

While these women were holding Jesus and worshiping Him, Jesus told them not to be afraid, but to go and tell His disciples. Jesus said: “Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me” (Matt. 28:10b).

What great news they had to tell! Before they had heard that Jesus had risen, and that the disciples would see Him in Galilee. Now they could add that they had seen Him themselves. What joy must have filled their hearts as they went quickly to bring the disciples the news!

Jesus declared to be God’s Son

Yet it was one thing to hear that Jesus had risen and even to have seen proof that this was so, and it is another thing to understand what Jesus’ resurrection meant, and why this is such a great comfort to God’s people.

For one thing, the resurrection of Jesus was a declaration that He really is the Son of God. When Jesus was on the cross people mocked Him. They said, “If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross” (Matt. 27:40). They made it sound as though coming down from the cross would be proof that He was the Son of God. Yet as the obedient Son of God, He remained on the cross. He was obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Then, on the first day of the week, God declared that Jesus was the Son of God. The resurrection was proof of this: We read that Jesus was “declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead” (Rom. 1:4b).

This resurrection was an irrefutable proof that Jesus really was and is the Son of God.

God’s promise fulfilled

But what about God’s covenant promise? When Jesus died, His disciples had wondered about the salvation God had promised them. They knew that God had promised that the Messiah would come and deliver His people. Yet when Jesus suffered and died as He did, they for a time wondered about the redemption God had promised.

Two of them who had not yet seen the risen Lord were walking on the road to Emmaus. When Jesus came up to them and started talking to them, they did not know that it was Jesus. These two men were thinking about what had recently happened, and they said, “we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel” (Luke 24:21). In other words, they were wondering, “Where was the deliverance, the redemption that God had promised?”

Yet this deliverance did take place when Jesus was raised from the dead. The apostle Paul later declared that God’s promise was fulfilled in the resurrection of Jesus. Paul said: “And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again” (Acts 13:32).

How we benefit

That brings us to a consideration of how God’s people benefit from Christ’s resurrection.

First, Jesus by His resurrection has overcome death. And having overcome death, He is able to make His people partakers of that righteousness that He has purchased for them by His death.

Because of our sin we are all guilty before God, and the punishment for sin is death. For us to be delivered from death and raised to life, we must be righteous. Yet we have no righteousness of our own.

The good news of the gospel is that Jesus is perfectly righteous, and that by His death He hath taken away the cause of His people’s eternal death and misery, namely sin, and has purchased for them righteousness. Jesus’ righteousness is imputed to all those who believe in Him.

And those who have Jesus’ righteousness imputed to them are righteous before God. They are righteous even so as though they had never sinned, yea, as though they themselves had accomplished all the obedience that Jesus has accomplished for them.

A second benefit of Jesus’ resurrection is this: By Jesus’ power His people are raised to a new life, a life that never ends. As was mentioned, because of our sin we received death. Jesus obtains for and restores to His people righteousness and life.

Christ, the Head of His people, raises from the dead those who are the members of His body. Already in this life He raises them. He raises them from the dead spiritually.

This spiritual resurrection is a real resurrection. Our spirit is real. We cannot see it, yet it is real. Man by nature is spiritually dead. His spiritual heart is dead. Jesus by His Spirit raises His people spiritually from the dead. He gives them a new spiritual heart. Then they are spiritually alive and they believe in Jesus Christ. They have communion with God, fellowship with Him that will never end.

That is a second benefit of Christ’s resurrection.

And this is a third benefit: The resurrection of Jesus is a sure pledge of His people’s blessed, bodily resurrection. A believer who dies goes to be with Christ in heaven. Such a person is with Christ in glory in his or her soul. Yet in the body a believer who has died will be buried. For a time he or she will be in the grave. Then, on the last day, the day when Christ returns, Jesus will raise the dead. The souls of the dead will be reunited with their bodies in which they formerly lived.

Speaking now just of the resurrection of believers, their bodies will be raised incorruptible. Their bodies will be immortal, powerful, and glorious, like unto the glorious body of Jesus Christ.

That is amazing! Yet it is really true. If Christ, the Head of His people, has been raised, it is certain that His people will also be raised.

What a comfort it is for believers to know this! Though they die, the day will come in which their bodies will be raised. Then they will have an incorruptible body. They will sin no more, and they will reign with Christ forever when there is a new heaven and new earth.


Now you who hear this message, are you one of those who believes in Jesus? Do you confess your sins to God, do you believe that Jesus offered the one perfect sacrifice for sin, and do you trust in Him for your salvation?

God promises salvation to all those who confess from the heart the Lord Jesus, believing in their heart that God has raised Him from the dead. Scripture says: “if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Rom. 10:9b).

All those who believe in Jesus shall be saved. They will be completely delivered from sin and death.

What a comfort we believers have in Him.