by Bill Denton
And he said to them, ‘Do not be amazed; you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who has been crucified. He has risen; He is not here; behold, here is the place where they laid Him'"(Mark 16:6, NASV).
"Few doctrines are more crucial to Christianity than the bodily resurrection of Christ," declares Norman Geisler.
It was still early on the day we call Sunday. Events of the past few days seemed dream-like to the women who had gathered near sunrise. Sleep had been fleeting moments of rest, only to waken with pounding hearts and a sense of dread. Would the soldiers come for them next? What would happen to the little band of disciples who had followed the man called Jesus for two or three years?
They had already heard cynical remarks about those who might be inclined to continue the work He started. To everyone around them, it seemed that His crucifixion should have been the end of His work. Now that He was gone, how would they convince anyone that His teaching was true? What about the promises He made that seemed to defy death and dying? It was all so confusing.
What they did know, however, is that they loved Him deeply, and in spite of what seemed complete defeat, there was a spark that urged them to believe that it wasn't over quite yet.
They had decided to visit the tomb, and it seemed that the earlier they went, the better. Perhaps they could avoid any curious onlookers or mockers who might not want to rise so early. An afterthought caused some concern about the guards, but they hoped they would not bother with a few women. On the way, they began to wonder if the trip was a failure. Who would help them roll the stone away from the entrance, even if the guards allowed them entrance? Still, their devotion demanded their homage.
With early morning dew still on the grass, and the waking birds beginning to sing their greeting songs to the rising sun, they were suddenly stunned by what they saw. The huge stone had already been removed from the entrance of the tomb. The guards seemed to have fled. What could this mean? A hundred thoughts went through their minds, but none prepared them for what they saw and heard next.
Entering the tomb they saw a young man wearing a white robe. He wasn't familiar to them, but when he spoke he knew them. "Don't be amazed," he said, but that was exactly what they were. The body of Jesus was nowhere to be seen. Confusion, fear and wonder weighed upon their minds. "You're looking for Jesus," he said. "He is not here. He has risen. Look at the place where He was laid." And they looked. Suddenly, the realization of what the young man was saying hit them with a force so powerful that it almost took their breath away. "He's alive! He was dead, but He's now alive." With minds racing and hearts thumping with excitement, yet full of fear at what had happened, they fled the tomb.
If they could only know how many others would thrill at this news. Jesus, crucified for the sins of the world, raised by God's power to give hope eternal. Three women were just the first to know, but if they could speak today, the message would still excite them. No tomb would ever be the same after that. Death would forever become something different, and Jesus, the risen Savior and Lord became the hope of all. "He is risen!"
Copyright 2000, Dr. Bill Denton
All rights reserved. Used by permission.