by Robby Higginbottom
Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you." So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said, "Greetings!" And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me."
How do you feel when someone says, “I told you so”? An interesting tension exists in the resurrection narratives in the Gospels. On one side, we have trembling guards and fearful women and perplexed disciples. Everyone seems so surprised by the empty tomb. On the other side, we have Jesus and angels, who don’t seem surprised in the least. “He is not here, for He has risen, as He said” (Matthew 28:6). What do we make of this angelic “I told you so”?
When people say, “I told you so,” they’re often trying to tear us down. But when the Lord says it, He intends to build us up. The various responses to the resurrection reveal a kind of scriptural amnesia. Confronted with the horror of the cross and the triumph of the resurrection, the disciples simply forget what the Scriptures say—and what the Lord Himself has said! As the news spreads, some of His followers remember His words (Luke 24:8), while others think it’s “an idle tale” and struggle to believe (Luke 24:11). Jesus even tells two travelers, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!” (Luke 24:25). Without question, the risen Christ wants His people to rejoice in His victory. But He also wants the resurrection to build their confidence in His word.
The Lord loves the argument from the greater to the lesser. “He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32). If God has already accomplished the greater thing (not sparing His own Son), how will He not also accomplish the lesser thing (graciously giving us all things)? The Lord’s “I told you so” suggests a similar argument. “If Christ has been faithful to His promise to rise again—as He said—how will He not also be faithful to every other promise He has made?” The resurrection invites us to take God at His word, to cultivate a humble confidence in His great and precious promises (2 Peter 1:4). Should we be shocked when God does what He says He would do?
By God’s grace, we can put this “argument” to work this week. If we’re anxious, we can cast our anxieties on Him, because He cares for us, as He said (1 Peter 5:7). If we’re tempted, we can be confident that He will provide a way out, as He said (1 Corinthians 10:12-13). If we’re lonely, we can trust that He will never leave or forsake us, as He said (Hebrews 13:5). If we feel inadequate to be His ambassadors, we can remember that our sufficiency is from Him, as He said (2 Corinthians 3:5). If we feel cut off from His love, we can remind ourselves that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord, as He said (Romans 8:37-39). If we’re facing death, we can be confident that we will be united with Him in His resurrection, as He said (Romans 6:5).
Friends, Christ is risen, as He said. All the promises of God have found their “Yes” in Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 1:20)! May we come and see the glory of the risen Christ on full display in His word. May He cause our hearts to burn as He opens the Scriptures to us (Luke 24:32). And like the morning of the resurrection, may He give us joy to go and tell, as He said (Matthew 28:10).