The risen Jesus in the tomb was not like some genie in a bottle waiting for the tomb to open up in order to let Him out. Otherwise, there would have been no need to tell the women, who apparently were present at the time, that Jesus had risen; right then and there they would have seen the risen Jesus for themselves instead of the empty tomb.
But, as many will hear in tomorrow’s Easter Gospel Reading (Matthew 28:1-10), the angel of the Lord who had rolled back the stone did tell the women that Jesus had risen. The angel also told them that they would see Jesus later elsewhere, and, they did and were even able to take hold of His feet, which a ghost was not thought to have. Jesus was and is divine and human.
That the divine and human natures are personally united in Jesus matters in regards to all He did and still does for us and for our salvation. Attributes of each nature are ascribed to the whole Person; for example, the God-man Jesus has feet, which is something that ordinarily only a human being would have, and His sacrifice of His human and divine life on the cross pays for the sins of the world. Divine attributes are communicated to the human nature; for example, Jesus’s human nature can leave the tomb without its being open and be present in bread and wine in the Sacrament of the Altar for the forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation. And, all that Jesus did and does He does as one Person, with each action involving both natures, that is, all that Jesus does He does as one undivided Person Who is God and man.
To believe otherwise about the personal union is ultimately to deny Jesus’s Incarnation and so to deny all that comes from it, including our redemption and resurrection and our own sharing in the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4).
Come join us at Pilgrim in receiving the true Gospel in all its articles, including that of the God-man Jesus’s resurrection for us!
The Rev. Dr. Jayson S. Galler is Pastor of Pilgrim Lutheran Church in Kilgore. You can reach him through the congregation’s website: www.pilgrimlc.org.