“Yet, they were frightened and fell down with their faces to the earth. But they said to them, “Why are you looking for the living amongst the dead?”
This statement that the angels make to the women is remarkably important. Yes, there is the obvious application of the text to the context — they have come to a tomb to search out the body of Jesus. But, of course, humanly speaking, this was the last place they had put the body and, since dead bodies do nothing on their own accord, this is where they expected to find him. Yet, this statement that the angels are making is not just the simple statement that Jesus has raised from the dead, it is also a statement as to who Jesus is in the first place.
“Regarding the resurrection of the dead, haven’t you read what was said to you by God, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the Living.”
or the parallel in Mark:
“But regarding the dead that will be raised, have you not read in the Book of Moses how God spoke to him from the thorn bush, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living; you have been greatly deceived.”
or again, in Luke:
“But with respect to the resurrection of the dead, Moses also made known at the time of the bush, how he said the Lord is the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. For he is not God of the dead but of the living, for all live to him.”
And do not the Scriptures call God the “Living God” repeatedly? Indeed, they do; see for example, Deuteronomy 5:26; Joshua 3:10; Psalm 42:2; Jeremiah 10:10; Matthew 16:16; Romans 9:26; and 1 Timothy 3:15, just to cite a handful of places where this phraseology is used. Indeed, as the author of Hebrews writes: “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God” (Hebrews 10:10).
And so, what these angels are stating is not just a matter of simple observation; it is a matter of Jesus’ very divinity. He is God — the very God of whom the Old Testament speaks, who is the very definition of life and who is able to give life abundantly to those who belong to Him. This is who Jesus is — “God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father…” This is Jesus, why seek him in the graveyard, but seek him amongst the living.