Early on Sunday morning [after Jesus' crucifixion and burial], as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to visit the tomb.
Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it. His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint.
Then the angel spoke to the women. "Don't be afraid!" he said. "I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn't here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying."
— Matthew 28:1-6 NLT
"Don't be afraid!" Aren't those beautiful words? Remember what it was like when you were a child and a parent would tell you those words, tuck you into bed, pull the covers up, and kiss you goodnight. Wouldn't it be great if you could hear those words again?
Jesus' message, based on his resurrection, is this:
— "Don't be afraid!"
— "Don't be afraid; I've been there and come out on the other side victoriously!"
— "Don't be afraid; the sting has been taken out of death, and it cannot defeat you!"
— "Don't be afraid; your life matters and what you do counts!"
Listen closely and you can hear our Father say:
— "Don't be afraid; my Son and your older brother Jesus has conquered death. All death can do is bring you home!"
And the angel said:
— "Don't be afraid! ... [Jesus] is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen."
Almighty and victorious God, thank you for the victory that is mine in Jesus. Please help me to live a victorious life over sin, over selfishness, and over failure. I pray this not so that my life will be easy, but so that you will be glorified and Jesus will be known as Lord in the hearts of my friends. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen.