So we are three days after the crucifixion. Jesus’ dead body was placed in this tomb on Friday night. It’s now Sunday, the beginning of the week, and some of the women have gone to the tomb to visit. But when they arrived, they found that the tomb was open and empty. The large stone used to seal the entrance had been moved and the body of Jesus was now missing.
The women went to the disciples, Peter and the one Jesus loved, later we learn was John. They come running and find that what the women said was true. The body was missing. Gone.
But look closely with me at the last two verse read, v8&9. “He saw and believed. 9 (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)” Peter and John looked and saw, and they believed…that Jesus had risen from the dead? No. Look at verse 9. They didn’t understand that that was what just happened. They saw the no body, but believed that it was missing, not that it was raised as the Old Testament said it would be.
What a strange state of affairs? How does a body disappear? It almost sounds like an episode of CSI. We have a crime scene here. Someone call Ted Danson.
But the story goes on. Verse 10…
Then the disciples went back to their homes, (11) but Mary stood outside and the tomb crying.
It was truly over. Not only was Jesus dead, but now his body was missing. Can things get any worse? No wonder the followers of Jesus felt the way they did. Even with all that Jesus spoke to them when he was alive, they simply didn’t understand what it all meant.
But isn’t that true of us? Don’t we find ourselves in situations where we think all hope is lost. We feel betrayed, alone, forgotten. The things of the world weigh us down with anxiety, worry, and fear. We make poor decisions, decisions that lead to serious consequences. We make mistakes, sometimes BIG mistakes. Sin, our sin, ensnares us. It binds us. Makes us a slave and it rules our lives. It leaves us feeling like there is no hope.
The followers of Jesus thought it was over. But the truth was, it was just beginning.
You see, Easter is not about Jesus’ death. His arrest, and beating, and being nailed to a tree these aren’t the best parts of the story. It’s not the climax. While his death, and the way he died does carry some important themes about God’s mercy, the true story, the reason we celebrate Easter is because Jesus wasn’t in the tomb. The fact that his body was missing was a good thing. It’s a good thing because God has done what he promised to do.
*Check back on Wednesday for part 3 of, He’s My King.