Peace be with you!
After the Sabbath, Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women go back to the tomb with spices they have prepared to find the stone rolled back (Luke 24:1-2). The women go in the tomb to discover Jesus’s body is missing (Luke 24:3). First, their Lord whom they had followed for three years was brutally killed, and now his body is missing. All of the women saw Joseph place Jesus’s body, wrapped in linen cloth, in the tomb two nights ago before the Sabbath. Where could it have gone? Who would take it? The absence of Jesus’s body perplexes the women. A dead body just does not get up and walk off; it stays wherever you put it.
Then the women are confused when they suddenly see two angels who frighten them (Luke 24:4). However, the angels say, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again” (Luke 24:5-7 NRSV). A light bulb went off in the women’s heads, and they remembered what Jesus had said (Luke 24:8). Nothing about Jesus has ever followed the rules of the world—why should his death be any different? Jesus has risen to be with God the Father. Jesus has risen in order to overcome the grave. No longer is death the final say. Now death is the beginning to the end. No longer does the world claim us with our last breath. Now God the Father and God the Son with God the Holy Spirit claim us and give us new life. This is the power of the Easter story.
Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women race back to tell the eleven disciples about what the angels told them (Luke 24:9-10). However, the disciples do not believe the women (Luke 24:11). Dead bodies stay where they are laid. Dead bodies do not get up and walk away. The rules of the world say it cannot be done.
Peter runs to the tomb (maybe to prove the women are telling stories, or maybe he believes and has to see for himself), but when he gets there he finds it empty, just as the women had said, and is amazed (Luke 24:12). Peter goes home with faith in knowing the risen Lord.
Having faith is difficult, because it means believing in the impossible—a man can rise after being dead for three days. You want to see it for yourself, like Peter, because it does not happen every day. Sure, Jesus said he would rise again, but that is impossible in our minds. How can it be? God the Father creates a way through Jesus Christ, his only begotten son and our Lord—a true gift.
Having faith is difficult, because it begins with falling back and trusting Jesus will catch you. How many times do we put our trust in someone, only to have them drop us? We have done it countless times. We just cannot trust Jesus’s words when he says he will rise again and we will rise with him. We cannot believe for the single fact that the world says it is impossible. It sounds like a fairy tale—all of our dreams will come true. Having faith is difficult, because we are criticized for believing in the unseen. We are asked (as the women asked the angels) how can it be so? Some people say we believe blindly in something that cannot be.
Yet having faith in the Triune God—God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit—gives us such peace. As Christians, we realize God is with us, even during difficult time. We see God working in our lives and recognize the peace and understanding he gives to us. God the Father sent Jesus to die for our sins to give us love, peace, grace, and forgiveness. We cannot earn our way into the kingdom of God on our own merit. We recognize our brokenness, our inability to fix what is broken, and our incapacity to know true forgiveness without the risen Lord. Therefore we recognize our need for Jesus to die on cross, to rise again, and to ascend into heaven to be with God the Father.
This is the truly amazing gift of Easter—the life-giving gift where Jesus overcame death and provides us with a way to enter the kingdom of God.
Thanks be to God!
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for showing us the empty tomb. Help us to grasp the Easter miracle as we go about our day. Remind us that you will catch us when we fall. Give us strength when we are criticized for having faith in the impossible. Raise us up when we take last breath and give us new life. Thank you for your love, peace, grace, and forgiveness. Amen.