He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Matthew 28:6 (NRSV)
The resurrection story is nothing new to us, but as Christians, it still brings a thrill each time we read it. Jesus gave himself for our sins, but he didn't stay dead. No, three days in the tomb was enough; it was the pause between what must have felt like defeat to his followers and his quiet yet glorious return.
Can you imagine how the women felt that morning as they went to visit the tomb? They started towards the grave in grief and mourning. At some point, there is an earthquake, and an angel descends to roll back the stone. They arrive to find an angel perched upon the rock and two soldiers unresponsive in front of the tomb. Their minds must have jumped to multiple scenarios, including someone had knocked out the two guards and opened the tomb. Their grief turns to abject terror. The angel assures them with the words from today's verse. Following the angel's direction with "fear and great joy," they scurry away to tell the disciples, along the way, they encounter Jesus. With great joy and still some disbelief, they fell at his feet and worshiped him. Jesus' prophecy that he would be raised in three days had been fulfilled. This time Jesus is the one to tell them not to be afraid but to go and tell the others.
We are familiar with the rest of the Bible story. Christ spends time with the disciples, breaking bread, teaching, instructing, and after 40 days ascending to our Father. The story continues in Acts with the day of Pentecost, the spread of the Good News of Jesus, and the early church’s formation.
We know what happened that’s recorded in the Bible, but what remains new to us today is how we will respond to the empty tomb. Christ has risen and with that resurrection extended a promise to us. Will we accept Christ as our Saviour? Will we tell others of the Good News of his salvation?
Mighty and most gracious God, we give you thanks for the empty tomb. In conquering death, our risen Christ offers us a promise of eternal life. In accepting him into our lives and following his example, we have a future bright with hope -- not just in that day when we meet you, but for today, our right now. Please help us to remember the price paid and the power of the cross. Let us as we strive to be your disciples. In Jesus’ name, we pray.
While on vacation between April 5 and April 18, I will take a brief hiatus from writing the daily devotions. I look forward to sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ with you when I return on Monday, April 19.