He’s still on duty.
The angel? Tomb with “Vacancy” lit? Yeah, the angel, he’s still there. Well, one of them is. It’s permanent duty, so they rotate.
You like historical markers, right? Well, there’s one about 8 yards over to the right of the Tomb, brown sign, white posts and lettering. Official. It reads:
All four gospel writers agree about the fact that Heaven ordered angels to appear to those who came to the temporary tomb of Jesus and direct traffic. That in itself is interesting because Luke wasn’t there and John, writing his gospel last and quite possibly after the other disciples had already been martyred, included things about Jesus that are over 90% unique to his gospel. The only place they differ is that Matthew and Mark say there was one, while Luke and John agree there were two.
There’s only one there now. And you know how different military troops look when they’re in utility, everyday uniforms and on parade in formal settings? Well, these guys are whom the guards of the Tomb of The Unknowns were patterned after. Their orders: “Humans can’t take the way you normally look and survive the experience. But do your lightning jazz groove enough so they can get a glimpse of what those silly Roman guards did. Every person visiting The Tomb needs to go away thinking, ‘Whoa, Nellie! This is FOR. REAL. Make it happen.’ ”
What do you mean, how do I know? Lock in on this. Matthew and Judas ‘got’ each other. They were both business types, both numbers people. Little to no sense of silliness or creative juices. They were the Jack Webbs of the Twelve Lads. “Just the facts, Ma’am.” We don’t know what Judas would’ve thought of the Tomb Escorts because he was busy meeting some other kinds who messed up and didn’t qualify.
But Matthew saw ’em along with the rest. No way Peter and John were the only two to run to the Tomb, while the rest lolled around hollering, “Hey! Doritos! And Mountain Dew!” Doesn’t happen that way. So when Mr. Numbers Guy who flunked creative writing and told a lot of his own peeps, ” ‘Ay, nothin’ personal, eh? Just business” wrote his gospel, here’s how he described The Celestial Dude:
God’s angel came down from Heaven. . . Shafts of lightning blazed from him. His garments shimmered snow-white. The guards at the tomb were scared to death. -John 28:2-4, The Message
If one angel impressed Matthew that way. . .
“Earth. Tomb Duty.”
“Roger that.” Big, impressive, resplendent. Yuge. Rippling with brilliant power. Wild, untamed shards of piercing light flickering, darting like pure crystal LED light hitting spinning white diamonds. . . bouncing every color of God’s spectrum off planets. . .
Pleasant, bored, mild-mannered, nonchalant. Maybe even jovial. When you’re that big and powerful, you can afford to be. No human has ever begun to appreciate just how stunningly magnificent these angels are. “Yeah, He’s not in there. He said He was going to live again. Right? Said He’d be back, too. And”— here his piercing eyes take on an intensity that would make a believer out of rebarred concrete — “we’ll be back with ‘im. Just sayin’.”
Spoken as if amused at the doubtful onlookers, sneering sceptics, the ‘too-cool’ ones who never seem to catch on: this is GOD. He does what He knows needs doing, works through people as He can, and around them where He must. He set up The Ten. Instantly, like mean, headstrong little kids we set out to break ’em and test Him as He knew we would. Ever since, He’s been working out His salvation plan according to our faith, working through our strengths and weaknesses. Jesus was part of that plan.
Old John: “There’s a WHOLE lot more I could put down here. Why’d I write another gospel? I want you to believe Jesus IS the Christ, God’s Son; and that by believing in Him every one of you can have life in His name.” – John 20:30-31, Boone’s Practical Translation
No one ever walks away from that Tomb without being seriously dinged by two things: no matter what the people think, that angel knows Jesus being alive is a FACT; and they will never be able to get out of their minds the sound of the fizzing, slight popping of that eternal neon sign:
© D. Dean Boone, March 2016