Can you imagine what it must have been like on that first Easter Sunday morning? Scripture recalls a lot of confusion, running around, people talking to angels, people seeing Jesus but not recognizing Him, people making assumptions—in other words, it was kind of chaotic.
If you had been there this is what you would have known: Jesus had died. You saw it with your own eyes. Maybe you were one of the disciples who was far off due to fear, but you saw Jesus’ whipped and beaten body, you saw Him carry the cross, you saw Him fall repeatedly and barely get back up, you saw His clothes ripped from His sacred back, you saw them nail His wrists and hands to the wood, you saw Him hang there for three hours, you saw Him take His last breath, you saw the spear puncture His side, you saw His lifeless body taken down from the cross and laid in His mother’s arms, you saw Him placed in the tomb and you saw the stone sealed across the opening.
And now He was gone.
Where had they taken Him? Who had taken Him? Why had they taken Him?
So many questions, so much confusion, so much fear. You had given your life to follow Him and now He was gone and you were all alone.
So often we can feel that way even today. It can seem like we give our hearts to Jesus and then at some point the pain comes, the doubts come, the isolation comes, the fear comes. And we find ourselves wondering what happened to the God we trusted, the God who said He would be with us always, the God who we believed was more powerful than our sins, our doubts, our pain and our fears.
But in these moments, like the disciples in the first moments of Easter Sunday, we forget one very important reality: THE TOMB IS EMPTY! And while we may not always understand what we are going through or what we are seeing at the time, what we do know is that Jesus is NOT dead, but is alive! And just as the purpose and plan of the crucifixion and death of Jesus was understood as He continued to reveal Himself to the disciples after the Resurrection, we understand our situation as He continues to reveal His plans to us over time as well.
I like to imagine that during the early years of the Church, when the going got rough—as the lions charged them in the coliseum, as they were tortured—the Christians encouraged one another with the words, “The Tomb is Empty!” for this one phrase reminds us of the greatest joy and consolation in human history: Jesus conquered death!
With Christ there is no grave that can hold us, death is not the end and we will also rise victorious on the last day! The empty tomb means Jesus got the last word, Satan has been defeated once and for all and there is nothing we have to fear!
And so my friends, as we encounter the trials and tribulations of life, as we sometimes crawl along this journey of life, as we go through days where we are not sure how we will survive, always remember: THE TOMB IS EMPTY!
Alleluia! He is risen!