“Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. When we stooped to look in, he saw it was empty; only the linen cloths that had covered His body remained. So he went home, amazed at what had happened.” Luke 24:12.
When Christ’s body had been taken down off the cross, there was not enough time to give it the full burial treatment that the Jewish law required. The Sabbath, the Jewish day of worship and rest, was fast approaching and work was forbidden during the hours of the Sabbath. Joseph of Arimathea, and the others who were now in charge of burying Jesus’ body, simply wrapped his beaten and lifeless corpse in fine linen and placed Him in the tomb. The ceremonial burial ritual would have to wait until after the Sabbath.
On the first day of the week, after the Sabbath had passed, Mary Magdalene and Jesus’ mother, Mary, returned to the tomb to finish the ritual of anointing Jesus’ body with spices. Their main concern was figuring out how to get inside the tomb, since it was covered by a huge stone to prevent anyone from stealing Jesus’ body. But the scene that awaited them when they arrived at the tomb would change their lives forever, as it also would change the course of history forever.
The stone was rolled away from the tomb, meaning that the tomb was wide open for anyone to walk in, or even walk out. The two women look inside and see that it is completely empty; Christ’s body is nowhere to be found. They are baffled, and even worried. Their first thought is that someone had stolen the body, but then a miraculous event occured–two men suddenly appear wearing dazzlingly bright white robes. “Why are you looking for the living among the dead?” the ask, “Jesus, who was crucified, is not here! He has been resurrected!”
Resurrected. Brought back to life. No longer dead. Living.
Mary and Mary run to tell the other disciples they glorious news, and they are just as baffled and bewildered. Peter runs to the tomb to witness it for himself. When he sees the empty tomb, he is amazed. Though Christ had repeatedly told his disciples what would happen, they never quite understood. Now, it is starting to make sense, and the gravity of the moment leaves everyone completely dumbfounded.
Christ is no longer in the grave; He has conquered death! Though He remained dead for 3 days, He rose on the third day and the empty grave is there to prove that Jesus of Nazareth is alive! In fact, Christ was such a righteous and observant Jewish man that He observed the Sabbath, even in death–He waited until the Sabbath was over to perform His greatest miracle, rising from the dead. His mission was now fully complete. He had suffered torture, humiliation, and death. And now, through His resurrection, He has conquered all three. Mankind is now redeemed, and salvation has been brought to the world.
On this Easter Sunday, we should be filled with the same sense of awe and wonder as those who were witnesses to the morning of the resurrection. Our Savior lives! He has conquered death and we shall share eternal life with Him! Let our hearts be filled with joy, for Christ is alive!