Friday, 4 July 2008

The Empty Tomb

For Mary the wait seemed to be endless. For three days she had been waiting until she was able to anoint the body and now the time was almost upon her.

The mob had killed Jesus the day before the high Sabbath. No one had been able to prepare the body before He was buried and only now, as the first day of the week was about to dawn, was Mary and the other women able to do what they could for their Lord.

Mary’s head was filled with confusion. Wasn’t Jesus the Messiah, the promised one? Wasn’t Jesus the one to set up the kingdom? What had gone wrong? How had they been able to kill Him? The questions went on and on without, apparently, any hope of being answered.

Finally the time had come for Mary and the other women to go to the tomb with the spices they had prepared. It was early in the morning, the sun was just about to rise. As they were going on their way they wondered how they would roll the great stone that stood at the mouth of the tomb. However, as they arrived they saw that the stone had already been rolled away.

To their horror , when they entered the tomb they discovered that the body was missing. Had someone stolen the body of their Lord? Just then two men appeared before them in dazzling clothing. In a state of amazement and disbelief the women heard them say, “Why do you seek the living One among the dead? He is not here but has risen!”

The women ran out of the tomb and back into the city. They went straight to the disciples and reported everything to them. All this seemed nonsense to the men and they refused to believe what the women told them. Peter and John, however, ran to the tomb to check these things out for themselves. Mary followed slowly behind.

When Peter and John reached the tomb they found it as the women reported, but the two men were nowhere to be seen. Confused and anxious they returned to the city leaving Mary alone in the garden that surrounded the tomb.

As she stood there weeping a man asked her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” Thinking that this man was the gardener she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take Him away.”

It was then that the man said to her, “Mary”. At that moment she looked at him and realized that it was Jesus! Here was her risen Lord. What the two men had told her was true. Death had not kept Jesus captive, but He had risen form the dead.

The resurrection of Jesus is the cornerstone of our faith. It had been prophesied that the Messiah would die and then be risen. Because of His resurrection we too can look forward to a resurrection to a newness of life. Through the power of God we can die to our sins and live a new life in Christ.

Have you obeyed the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are told, “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:23). Now is the time to accept that free gift, now is the time to obey the gospel.

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