Bad news, the tomb is empty
Christians are so used to hearing that the empty tomb of Jesus Christ is good news that they miss out one important fact; that is not how the news was received by the disciples.
This is how John’s Gospel describes it:
Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” John 20:1-2 ESV
Put yourself in the disciples’ shoes, in the last 21/2 days things had gone from sharing a meal with Jesus, their leader and friend, who they had been with for 3 years plus, to watching him being arrested, and denying him by running away. All of them. Then he was executed within a day of his arrest and laid in a rock tomb.
How could things get worse?
Well it got worse. The tomb was empty. That is the only logical reason for the empty tomb.
But truth can be stranger than logic. They thought death had happened to Jesus. I is reasonable to think that, death happens to everyone. But something strange had happened. Jesus had happened to death.
I’ll repeat that, the concept is so revolutionary it is worth repeating, Jesus has happened to death. God, in human form, happened to death. The power of death is broken. If that is not clear enough for you here’s the emphasis:
Jesus has happened to death.
Jesus is alive. Jesus was raised from the dead and is alive. This is good news. But it only the start of the good news, something even more amazing is going on here. Here’s the story a bit further on.
[Mary Magdalene] turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be 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.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic,“Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her. vv 14-18.
Did you sopt the revolutionary bit? Maybe the quote is too long, but I quoted it for context. Here’s a shorter guote, with my emphasis:
“But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
That’s it, brothers. Jesus refers to his followers as brothers. I can’t emphasise that enough.
Jesus refers to his followers as brothers.
That is the really good news about the resurrection. Jesus is alive and his followers are his brothers and sisters, part of God’s family.
Happy Easter to all.
Easter is our family celebration.