Matthew 28:1-9 — 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.
This morning, I read this familiar passage in a new translation (Holman CSB if you’re wondering). Instead of “Greetings!” (ESV and NIV), in the CSB Jesus approached the women and said, “Good morning!”
The cheerfulness and familiarity of the term struck me in a way “greetings” never did. The contrast between this entrance and that of the angel makes it all the more notable. The angel appears in all the glory and power of heaven – everyone trembled at the sight. Then, Jesus quietly meets the women on the road and without a trace of fanfare says, “Good morning!”
The Greek word used here is chairo and it has multiple meanings. It was used to say “Rejoice!” or “Hail!” or even “Peace to you.” But it was also a familiar — common — greeting in the day. They used it to say hello and goodbye, like “Be well” or “Ciao”. It’s a word you would use when you were reuniting with old friends.
He says to the women, “Good morning!”
The greatest understatement of all time.
I think He was saying, “Good morning” in every sense of the word. “Rejoice! – your sorrow has turned into joy!” “The peace that transcends all peace is yours today.” “All is well and all will be well.” And finally, “Hey, how’ve you been?”
He says hello like nothing had happened, but really everything, had changed. The fate of humanity, the trajectory of the universe, forever altered.
Matthew Henry writes, “The salutation speaks the good-will of Christ to man.” When Jesus said those words He spoke reconciliation. I am alive and your sins are now atoned for. And now He is not ashamed to call us brothers. He walks up and simply says, “Good morning.” We have peace with God and fellowship with Jesus Christ.
“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross…” (Ephesians 2:13-17)