John 20:12 – She saw two white-robed angels, one sitting at the head and the other at the foot of the place where the body of Jesus had been lying. (NLT)
Contemplating the glorious scene at the empty tomb, I am intrigued by the positioning of the two angels, one at the head and the other at the foot of Jesus' sepulchre. Years ago, I heard an interesting illustration that has stuck with me, especially throughout the Easter season. This theory says that the two angels on either side of the tomb correspond to the two cherubim whose wings were spread over the mercy seat (or lid) of the Ark of the Covenant. They symbolized God's glory and power in the Old Testament tabernacle, and later, in the temples.
Hebrew 9:5a – Above the Ark were the cherubim of divine glory, whose wings stretched out over the Ark's cover, the place of atonement. (NLT)
I can see how the stone slab where Jesus' body lay could be portrayed as a "mercy seat". How suitable for angels, who announced the Messiah's birth, also to announce the good news that He had risen. These messengers from the realms of glory came to shed light where there was naturally darkness, glory where there was naturally death. Moreover, the presence of these heavenly beings in the tomb signified that God approved of Christ's sacrifice by raising Him to life; His righteous demand for atonement had been fulfilled.
Romans 1:4 – He was shown to be the Son of God when he was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. He is Jesus Christ our Lord. (NLT)
Therefore, let us not overlook the brief but important role that angels played in the resurrection story. In all four gospels, they add a unique perspective to the eye-witness accounts. As we celebrate this holy season, honouring the death, burial and resurrection of our blessed Saviour, may the magnificent testimony of the angels inspire us to search our hearts for the deep things of God, and reach out to others with the news of Christ's victory.
Prayer: Almighty God, by raising Your Son Jesus Christ from the grave, You have lifted the bars of sin and death for all who believe. Bring now Your light into our midst, even as we look to You for forgiveness and mercy in times of need. Like Your holy angels in heaven and those who have testified before us, may we also be witnesses of Your resurrection, sharing the hope of salvation and the promise of eternal life with those still living in darkness. This we ask through Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.
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