A Pause Beside the Empty Tomb

Preethi Jacob, Literacy Officer, Bible Ministry: Global Mission Team, United Bible Societies

Resurrection refers to the “state of one risen from the dead.” 

Scripture presents conclusive evidence that Jesus Christ was in fact raised from the dead. Christ’s resurrection is recorded in Matthew 28:1-20; Mark 16:1-20; Luke 24:1-53; and John 20:1–21:25. The resurrected Christ also appeared in the Book of Acts (Acts 1:1-11). Easter acknowledges and recalls that Jesus defeated the powers of sin and death for all who believe.

The resurrection day account begins with a few ardent followers of Jesus, arriving to find an empty tomb, and a messenger. Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome brought spices and came very early in the morning, that they might anoint Him. They however find the stone at the entrance to the tomb rolled away, and Jesus’ body not there. On entering the tomb, they are met by a young man, clothed in a long white robe, who announces that the Jesus of Nazareth whom they were seeking, who was crucified, was not there, but had risen from the dead. He invites them to come and see the place where He was laid. (Mark 16:1-6). 

The women were encouraged to see the place where He was laid. To hear the account should have been enough, nevertheless, when they saw it, it gave them ground to stand on, which was even more solid than the testimony of an angel. “One eye-witness is better than twenty ear-witnesses; men will believe what you have seen if they do not believe what you have heard.” (Spurgeon). 

The resurrection of Christ sets Christianity and its God completely apart as unique and distinctly different from other world religions. The apostles’ claim about Jesus’ death was widely controversial, but it was because of their claim of what happened next that they were persecuted and martyred. The Jews were not offended so much by the cross as they were by the empty tomb. And yet, the proof of Christ’s resurrection is irrefutable. 

The resurrection proves that though Jesus died on the cross as a common criminal, He died a sinless man, driven only by love and self-sacrifice to bear the guilt of our sin. While the death of Christ on the cross was the payment, His resurrection was the proof that the payment was perfect and acceptable in the sight of God the Father. 

The resurrection of Christ defeated Satan and his lies and schemes, once and for all. Jesus rose to prove that He had defeated death, losing the pangs of death that could not hold Him (Acts 2:24).

God’s promise of everlasting life was fulfilled in Christ’s resurrection, making Him the first born from the dead (Colossians 1:18) for many others to follow. Jesus rose to also prove that He would one day judge all sins (Acts 17:30-31).

Jesus rose to prove that He would eventually return and make all things right, bringing times of refreshing and restoration (Acts 3:19-21). 

The resurrection of Jesus means that my sins are forgiven. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:17, “if Christ has not been raised from the dead, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.” Which means now that He is risen, never to die again, our sin problem is over. Just as our sin brought Him to the cross, the finished work of taking care of our sins brought Him out of the grave. Jesus rose from the dead for our salvation – a salvation which we could never achieve on our own. 

Jesus the promised Messiah suffered and died for all of the human race, and rose again, bringing many sons to glory (Acts 26:22-23, Hebrews 2:10). Jesus rose to prove that God is sovereign even over the worst evil, promising to work all things, including the most painful, difficult things of life for the good of His children. 

As we celebrate yet another Easter, we affirm the hope we have in the risen Lord, who wrought salvation for the world. When we see the place where they laid Him is now empty, we see that the Father did not forsake Jesus, we see that death is conquered, we see that we have a living friend in Jesus. Having seen and heard about Jesus’ resurrection the women had a mandate – “go and tell” That is the mandate for every disciple. 

In God’s perfect timing, the world will be rid of sin, its causes and consequences. Until then, as we celebrate Easter, let us pause beside the empty tomb, and consider what that glorious day will be like. A great time to accept Jesus, and the salvation He freely offered us when He bore our punishment and died in our stead. Let us share this hope, with others by obeying the mandate to ‘go and tell.’ 

Yes, Christ is risen … He is risen indeed! 

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