Lucado’s book, He Still Moves Stones, Lucado uses Matthew’s account of the resurrection where a violent earthquake took place and an angel came and rolled the stone away from the tomb in which Jesus had been laid and sat on it (Matthew 28:2). The other gospels indicate no earthquake and only describe the women finding the stone rolled away as they returned for the final burial preparations. Why would Matthew make such a point? Interestingly, he is the only one of the gospel writers that mentions an earthquake the moment Jesus died on the cross. Matthew’s focus, however, isn’t the earthquake but the stone being rolled away.
The two Mary’s in Matthew’s account had been at Calvary and saw the crucifixion of Jesus. They were the last to leave and the first to arrive at the grave. They weren’t hoping or expecting the tomb to be vacant. All hopes and expectations were dashed three days earlier. So if it wasn’t hope that led them to the tomb that morning, what was it? In a word – DEVOTION.
Service prompted by devotion is the call of discipleship. They knew a task had to be done and out of devotion to Jesus and they were on their way to accomplish it. Peter didn’t offer. Andrew didn’t volunteer. The healed lepers were nowhere to be found. What if the two Mary’s had given up? What if one decided out of frustration, “I’m tired of being the only one who cares. Let someone else do it.” But they didn’t, and as a result they got the thrill of their lives.
So why did the angel move the stone? Most assume it was so Jesus could come out. But wait a minute – Jesus doesn’t need any help to exit the tomb or push the rock away. The text indicates that Jesus was already out when the stone was moved. If it wasn’t moved for Jesus, then who was it moved for? Note the words of the angel in Matthew 28:6, “Come and see the place where he lay.” The stone was moved not in order for Jesus to come out, but in order for the women to see in!
What stone in your life needs to be moved so that you can see the glory of God at work? Could it be a stone of doubt or disbelief? Maybe a stone of worry or anxiousness? Possibly a stone of discouragement or depression? If there is a stone in your life, remember the two Mary’s and their gift of devotion. Because they didn’t give up, the stone was rolled away and they were never the same again. You see, God still sends angels and still moves stones.
To His Glory,