Sunday, March 27, 2016

Holy Week Day 7: The Empty Tomb and the Resurrection

"Now on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene came early to the tomb, while it was still dark, and saw the stone already taken away from the tomb. And so she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and said to them, 'They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.'" 
                                                                          John 20: 1-2 nasb

"Peter therefore went forth, and the other disciple, and they were going to the tomb, And the two were running together; and the other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter, and came to the tomb first; and stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings lying there but he did not go in. Simon Peter therefore also came, following him, and entered the tomb, and he beheld the linen wrappings lying there." John 20:3-6 nasb

Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and was utterly stunned by the open tomb. The stone had been rolled away and the guards were gone. She jumped to the only logical conclusion. Someone had stolen the body and hidden it. 

She ran as fast as she could to find Peter and John and told them the same thing. 

Stolen the body? Why would someone do that? It didn't make sense. 

There might have been an inkling of the possibilities in the two men's mind. Could He had risen from the grave? Maybe, as they ran, they remembered what He'd said about tearing down the temple and rebuilding it in three days. Maybe they remembered Lazarus.

John looked in. No body. 

Proximity to a dead body would make them ceremonially unclean, but Peter didn't care. He needed to be sure. He plunged ahead and found the most wonderful news. The linen wrappings that had been entwined around the body were folded and Jesus was gone.

There was no smell of putrefaction. The air was filled with the sweet aroma of the spices used to anoint the body, still lingering in the fabric that had been wrapped around Him. 

If someone had stolen the body, they would not have removed the wrappings. That stack of fabric told Peter all he needed to know. 

This wasn't a grave robbing. This was a Resurrection!

Peter and John had seen a dead man come back to life and they KNEW it was possible. When Lazarus came forth from the grave, however, he still had the linen wrapped around him. This was something bigger that the raising of Lazarus.

Their beloved Jesus was ALIVE! He was up and on the move.

That empty tomb changed everything. Jesus conquered death and sin and set us free from its tenacious hold on us. 

His sacrifice paid our sin-price but His resurrection bought our freedom in this life and the one to come. 

As I rejoice today over the victory that has been won, I don't want to lose sight of the fact that I was bought with a terrible price. The cross is more than the ornament I wear around my neck or the metal adornment on my wall. The cross was a place of torture and pain beyond any I will ever know. It was a place of death and despair, grief and fear.

That empty tomb, though, is the place of victory and celebration. 

Joy bubbling like a fountain. 

Laughter and happy tears and dancing in celebration.

I'm so accustomed to His resurrection that it's easy to lose sight of the great miracle it is, but today, I'm praying we will all take overwhelming delight in what God has done for those He loves.

He came. He lived. He loved.

He sacrificed. He died. He rose again.

He did it all for you and for me.

He is risen and that one fact changes everything. Let's live in such a way that the world will know we serve a risen Savior. Alleluia!

In case you missed part of this series:
Holy Week Day 1:The Scandalous Act of Love
Holy Week Day 2: The Betrayer
Holy Week Day 3: Instant Obedience
Holy Week Day 4: Jesus' Last Week
Holy Week Day 5: The Dark and Terrible Good Friday
Holy Week Day 6: The Silent Saturday
#emptytomb #resurrection #heisalive #linesfromleanna