Let us travel back in time in our minds today, to that morning, the third after Jesus’ death, that he arose from the grave.
What was the mood of those that were close to Jesus, that knew Jesus, or that knew who he was? Was there a fearful expectation of his return? Was there a vigil outside His tomb, waiting for Him to rise again? No. As far as we can tell, Jesus’ death was seen as finality. The soldiers casting lots, Jesus’ family grieving, the Jewish leadership seemingly justified, the apostles scattered. At the time, it must have seemed like the end of a great prophet rather than the beginning of a new kingdom.
In John 19:39-40, we see Nicodemus, a man known to Jesus, having spoken with Him intimately, had very much given Christ up as dead forever. Nicodemus brought the items custom for burial, in abundant supply, :” 39 And Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds. 40 Then they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in strips of linen with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury.” The public, it seems, had given him up for dead.
In Luke 23:50-56, we also have the account of Joseph of Arimathea, a man “who was waiting on the kingdom of God.” Joseph’s action was to place Jesus in his tomb, hewn out of the rock. Now we know that after Jesus’ death, the apostles scattered. The number of them that were faithfully waiting for Jesus to raise from the dead, if any, is not given, but is most likely very low. And the women mentioned here are not preparing for his resurrection, rather they are preparing to reduce the decay of Jesus’ earthly body. Luke 23:50-56 ”55 And the women who had come with Him from Galilee followed after, and they observed the tomb and how His body was laid. 56 Then they returned and prepared spices and fragrant oils. And they rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment.” All of this paints a sad picture for us, a picture of our Savior passed, with all in mourning, grieving for the One that brought such Light into the world. It brings sorrow to think of our Jesus, crucified and buried in a rich man’s tomb, with all of those he so passionately taught acting as if He was now gone forever.
But we know the outcome. WE KNOW OF THE GLORY OF HIS RESURRECTION. The heavenly power that rolled the stone away from the mouth of that tomb. We know that Jesus rose from the grave. As a source for focused meditation, John 20:1-9:” Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. 2 Then 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.” 3 Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple, and were going to the tomb. 4 So they both ran together, and the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first. 5 And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there, 7 and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself. 8 Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed. 9 For as yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead.
What glory! What power! How can we imagine? Our savior rose from the dead. Despite all of the evidence otherwise, Jesus words came true. He came back, came back to lie to rest any remaining doubts, came back to validate prophecy, came back to initiate the establishment of the kingdom. He opened up for us an avenue to the Father. Christ still intercedes for us with a love that is truly “out of this world.”
Where did Christ go when he ascended? To heaven, to sit at God’s right hand. But where is heaven? We don’t know, not really. What are the things waiting for us after we lead a life of faith at the feet of God and Jesus Christ? We know, but only vaguely. Our faith must be great. Our faith must transcend our lives, the sights we know with familiarity, our routines, even the people closest.
John 14:1-6: “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many mansions;[a] if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.[b] 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. 4 And where I go you know, and the way you know.” 5 Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
Consider Christ’s rising from that tomb. The truth of it. How that, during his life, death and resurrection, our souls are given the chance for reconciliation with our Creator, with God. Let your faith increase. Let us meditate on the truth and finality of the great stone rolled away from the tomb.