Empty Tomb

Main point: The main point of this scripture seems to be the “Oh my gosh! He’s gone!” exclamation from Mary Magdalene and the disciples as they peered into the tomb and found it empty. Only the linen wrappings and the head cloth that had covered Jesus when he was buried remained, left like an empty cocoon as though Jesus had passed right through them. At first, the disciples think that someone took Jesus from the tomb. Then John, described here as ‘the other disciple,’ begins to believe that Jesus had risen.

New light: The way the story of the resurrection unfolds is parallel to the process one might go through in comprehending the resurrection. Upon first hearing of it the story seems impossible – like a deception, our thinking minds tell us this cannot be true. We read these lines more carefully, word-by-word to check the facts. We need to see it for ourselves. We compare it to the other Gospels. The words of Jesus predicting his own death and resurrection are remembered. The image of Lazarus, restored to life is recalled. In light of this, maybe this rising, however more amazing, is not so impossible to believe… especially when we feel the light of Christ alive in us.

Truth: It has been said that Jesus’ resurrection is fundamental to the Christian faith. For me this truth is not just about whether Jesus arose from the tomb, but rather Christ’s intentions and purpose become alive within us. Physical death was obviously not the end of Christ’s life. Christ’s life and teachings were dynamic; beyond time and culture, the wisdom and values live on when we become aware of Christ’s presence, the pure consciousness he embodied, breathing in us.

Implications: My guess is that many people have a hard time believing in the empty tomb. From rationality, this story does not match our expectations or experience. This is yet another story that must be brought to into an awareness beyond our thinking minds.

Problems: I read that the stone was not rolled out of the way so Jesus could get out – but rather so others could get in, to see that Jesus’ body was no longer there. Does anyone know any more about this?

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3 responses

  1. Empty Tomb (hope this helps):John 20:1 It was very early on the first day of the week and still dark, when Mary of Magdala came to the tomb. She saw that the stone had been moved away from the tombLuke 24:1-3 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find the body.Mark 16:1-4 When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back.Matthew 28:1-5 After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified.

  2. Meredith wrote: “Physical death was obviously not the end of Christ’s life”:This is a mystery; it cannot be grasped intellectually; it can only be lived into.

  3. Hi Meredith. That’s an interesting question about who and why the stone was rolled away from the tomb. Later when Jesus visited the disciples in their locked room, I don’t think he came through the door … perhaps he didn’t need the stone rolled away to leave the tomb.

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