Shaking with Fear
1 Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. 2 And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. 3 His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. 4 And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men.
The reaction to humans when they experience a moment with God or angels is always interesting. Fear seems to grip a human when something heavenly appears in its glory. It doesn’t matter whether they are a believer or non-believer. Many times the Bible says that people fall to the ground, face down. Here the guards became like dead men, unable to move or run away. These were the type of guards that could face death and armies, but here all that courage is drained away. When holy men experience something like this, there is not much difference.
Moses hid his face for he was afraid to look at God before the burning bush. Isaiah said he was undone as he stood in the temple before God. Before God, it doesn’t matter how good you may be, your sins bring you to your knees.
The angel in this story on the other hand seems very relaxed. Even as the earth shakes, the angel simple rolled back a massive stone and then simple sat on it waiting. There was no fear with the angel. Even though he was in evil territory, a place where the Devil reigned, he was not perturbed. He knew who was in the tomb. He knew he was alive. He knew he was on the winning side.
And then there’s us. How will we react when we come face to face with God? For most, if not all of us, this will probably only happen in the Second Coming. We will look up and see God and all his angels up in the sky. If you have not been faithful or true to your belief, you will scream in terror and plead for death as the reality of God will be above you and the judgement of God will be in your heart.
If you have been faithful and true to your faith, it will be completely different. You will stand in awe at the sight and as God transforms you in the blink of an eye, all fear and worry will melt away from you. You will be filled with immense love and joy. You will become like that angel sitting on the stone knowing that you were on the right and winning side.
Pr. Steven Couto