But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. (Luke 24:1-3)
I very rarely remember the names of sermons, but one Easter sermon I heard was entitled, Empty Tomb, Empty Womb. It was given by a minister who had just given birth. It was a sermon on new beginnings and hope which is more appropriate for a Christmas sermon than an Easter sermon. We didn’t deliver Jesus, He delivered us.
Who are these women who came to give Jesus a proper burial? We have to go to all four gospel accounts to come up with a list: Mary Magdalene, Mary Jesus’ mother, Mary mother of James and Joseph, Salome, and Joanna. Mark tells us they worried about who would remove the stone. Even in the story of the resurrection, God tells us we needn’t worry because he takes care of the details. The women didn’t have enough time to anoint Jesus before the Sabbath, so they came Easter morning to witness Jesus was missing from the tomb. Matthew tells us there was an earthquake as God sent an angel to remove the stone, not so Jesus could leave the tomb but so the women could enter and be witnesses to this amazing event.
An empty tomb, like an empty cross, symbolizes resurrection. It is God’s power over death that allows righteous humans to rise into God’s Kingdom and be with him for eternity. Jesus was righteous; his body committed no sin. After Jesus’ soul and spirit traveled to Hades, preached God’s salvation and led the captives to Paradise, he came back for his body to make sure we knew it was sinless and worthy of heaven. With holes in his hands and feet, his body will always remind us: “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)
Our bodies are not sinless. They are subject to sin, disease, and failure. It is appropriate they return to the ground as dust and ashes. In 2 Corinthians 5, God promises us new bodies that will remain sinless and disease-free. They won’t fail us. Our new bodies will remind us of God’s grace, his gift of forgiveness and love that are undeserved.
Father God, I praise You because You are love. Thank you for Your grace that forgives all my wrongdoings and makes me righteous so I can live guilt-free in Your refuge. I am proud to be Your child and feel honored and loved as a princess/prince in Your kingdom. I will try to honor Jesus with joy and love, prayer and communion with You, and the acceptance of power and wisdom from Your Holy Spirit to do Your will because Jesus died on the cross so I could have all those things. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.