Very early the next morning, as the sun was just beginning to peek over the Jerusalem horizon, the women set out to properly anoint Jesus’ body for burial. Having been the Sabbath, they were not able to do this when his body had first been laid in the tomb. And they had spent much time in their mourning preparing spices and ointments with which to prepare their Lord’s body.
I imagine them being eager to see him one last time. The events of the day he was sentenced to die moved so quickly, they had barely had a chance to say “good bye”.
Imagine their dismay as they approached the tomb and saw the guards passed out on the ground. Imagine their surprise as they saw that the massive boulder blocking the entrance had been rolled away. Imagine their shock when they peered inside and saw that the tomb was empty. And imagine their fear when an angel appeared before them and proclaimed. “I know you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead just as he said would happen!” (Matthew 28:5-6)
The Bible says they were “filled with great joy” as they rushed away from the empty tomb to tell the others. Filled with great joy! They had spent the last couple of days trying to come to grips with everything. Trying to replace the images seared on their minds of Jesus, bloody and beaten with the images of his smiling, loving and compassionate face. Trying to forget the awful mockery and contempt crowds of people had thrown at him and instead remember all the amazing things he had spoken of. Trying to understand why it had all ended like it did.
But now he wasn’t lying in the tomb! The tomb was empty! Could it really be?!? Could he really be risen?!?
Fortunately for them – and for us – Jesus did not leave that question unanswered. He did not just mysteriously ascend to his rightful place in heaven. He appeared in his resurrected body to many. He spoke with them. He ate with them. They reached out and touched the wounds left from his crucifixion. And he ascended into heaven in front of them all.
Hope was reignited in the disciples. All of the hopes they had placed in their Lord when he walked the earth with them had come true in a bigger and better way than they could’ve ever imagined. The forgiveness of sins for all was real because Jesus suffered and died. The promise of eternal life was real because Jesus’ had won the victory over sin and death with his resurrection.
This is where my hope comes from! All of my hope. And this is where your hope and everyone’s hope comes from.
There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12 NLT)
Jesus is alive!!!!!!