The three women went quickly to the tomb with cloth-wrapped spices in their arms to anoint the body of their friend and Master, Jesus (Mark 15).
Wondering how they would remove the stone themselves, they were shocked to see it already rolled away. Uncertain what they’d find, they entered the tomb slowly and saw a young man in a white robe sitting inside.
He greeted them, “Do not be amazed; You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene who has been crucified. He has risen; He is not here.”
The man instructed the women to go and tell Jesus’ disciples and Peter that Jesus was going to Galilee and would see them there. The women fled from the tomb, “trembling and astonished,” eager to tell them the good news.
In John’s account (chapter 20), Mary Magdalene went to the tomb by herself early while it was still dark. Finding the stone rolled away, she hurried to tell Peter and John. They both ran ahead of her to the tomb and went inside. John relates that he “saw and believed.”
After the men left for their homes, Mary Magdalene stood outside the tomb, weeping. When she stooped to look into the tomb, she saw two angels, one sitting at the head and another at the feet where the body of Jesus had been lying.
The angels asked Mary, “Woman, why are you weeping?”
She replied, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.”
Turning, she noticed a man, who also asked why she was weeping. When she answered, the man spoke her name, “Mary.” The scales fell from Mary’s eyes and she reached out to cling to her risen Lord.
After this earth-shattering encounter, Mary ran to announce to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord.”
Can you imagine Mary’s heart bursting with joy and wonder? She’d just seen her risen Lord! Her sorrow of finding the tomb empty evaporated when she reaized He was alive!
- What might you have thought when you saw the stone rolled away and discovered the tomb empty?
- What emotions might have erupted inside you when the man in a white robe told you, “He is not here. He has risen.” Who would you have run to tell?
- If you had been Mary Magdalene, what thoughts might have run through your mind when you saw two angels perched beside the burial cloths—a confirmation that Jesus was no longer there. What would you have said?
- And what about when you recognized Jesus! What would you have felt, or said to Him, or done?
- Who would you have run to, shouting, “I have seen the Lord”?
- How might your life have been changed?
I can’t imagine what my life would be like, or what kind of person I would be today, if it weren’t for the empty tomb, the ultimate proof of Christ’s resurrection. Christ’s willingness to pay my debt in full, by being crucified on the cross, is the only way I am able to live in freedom. Because of Christ’s death, the veil was removed, and I gained access to His Father. My personal relationship with my Abba Father breathes life into my spirit and soul, and gives me strength to live each day for Him. He is the only One who can fulfill my needs, wants, and desires. No person and no created thing can satisfy the longings of my heart. God has provided a way for me to experience His grace daily and to live the kind of life He ordained for me. For the rest of my days on earth, I will sing of my love and gratitude to God for saving me.
On this Resurrection Sunday, and in the days that follow . . .
May we realize in a new and deeper way what the empty tomb symbolizes for us personally. Forgiveness for all our sins…past, present, future. Freedom to have a personal relationship with God without a veil between us. Privilege to bare our hearts to Him, sure of His understanding, forgiveness and counsel. Let’s joyfully celebrate the new life we have because of Jesus Christ.
May we also hear Jesus Christ commissioning us with these words: “Go and tell others.” We have a story of new life that others need to hear. It may be a neighbor, a service person who comes to our home, someone at the fitness center where we work out, a teacher, a coworker. People listen to stories. We have the most important story to tell. Everyone who is not living a redeemed life needs to hear that Jesus loves them and wants to know them personally.
What does the empty tomb mean for you?