The resurrection of Jesus deserves our constant attention. It is a marvel, a joy-igniting truth that Jesus is alive. My soul is strengthened every time I read the end of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. And in a recent reading of Matthew, I was gripped by something I hadn’t seen before.

At the beginning of Matthew 28, he tells us about an angel’s actions:

“There was a violent earthquake, because an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and approached the tomb. He rolled back the stone and was sitting on it.” Matthew 28:2

An angel rips into our dimension with a sonic boom, rattles the earth, and hovers in front of the tomb where Christ was laid. The angel rolls up his sleeves and rolls back the stone. Then, the angel’s supernatural action is followed by a casual one.

The angel sat on the stone.

He turned the stone into a stool. The rock became a recliner for this heavenly being. Lean into the oddity of this detail with me. Why did the angel do this? And why include this in the account?

For one, we would never act this way in a cemetery. Can you imagine visiting the grave of a recently deceased family member, and your sibling decides to sit on the headstone to answer a few emails? Would never happen. Our instinct is to have decorum, respect, and manners in a cemetery. People put flowers by graves, clean the headstones, and honor the dead. No one would ever sit on a grave to take a load off.

So why does the angel let his legs dangle from the stone while the back of his heels bounce against it?

Because this isn’t a cemetery anymore.

This was a grave. But now it’s just a rock. This was the shortest-running graveyard in human history, going out of business in three days. The stone was repossessed by the risen King.

The angel sitting on the stone shows us that it’s time to rejoice that Christ “has risen, just as he said” (Matthew 28:6). There isn’t a dead man here. Let’s all rest in Christ.