He is Not Here!
“When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. And they were saying to one another, "Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?" And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. And he said to them, "Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you." And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid. ()
“When the Sabbath was past...” They had time to grieve. They had time to worry. The disciples were full of fear, expecting at any moment the soldiers would come for them. They had failed. When Jesus had asked for them to pray, they had slept. When the soldiers had come, they had fled. And Peter, he had denied he even knew Him. They spent a long Sabbath, mourning and lamenting all that had happened, a couple of sleepless, tormented nights.
Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices. These women had supported Jesus’ ministry from its early days. They were some of His most faithful followers. Now, in a final act of devotion, they came to the tomb to anoint His body.
“Very early on the first day of the week...” Even before the sun was up, these ladies were arriving at the site of the tomb. Why not? They couldn’t sleep.
“They were saying to one another, ‘Who will roll away the stone?’” It was a huge stone. They were trying to figure out how they would overcome such an obstacle, but when they got there, the stone was rolled back. The women did not know what to think, but they entered the tomb. “And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed.” Their trembling and astonishment started immediately as an electric shock of fright shot through their bodies. The young man said to them, “Do not be alarmed.” Yes, they needed reassurance and calming. He even knew what they were doing. He said, “You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified.” Yes, He was crucified. That was their sorrow, their loss. They sought Him in the place of the dead, the graveyard. All their hopes had died with Him.
Let us pause and consider the darkness of the hour. Until we give up all hope of saving ourselves, until we buy spices and go to the tomb of our own righteousness, we can never experience the true glory of the resurrection.
The women went to the place of the dead to find the living Lord. So, the young man told them, “He is risen. He is not here.”
I love the early morning. I take my walks early in the morning. I avoid the heat of the day, and during certain times of the year get to see the first light of the sun as it begins to brighten the eastern sky. As the stars start to fade and the darkness flees, anticipation builds for the new day. The air is fresh and crisp, and the weariness and fatigue of yesterday have been washed away by a night of rest.
Resurrection life is not found in the new day.
Spring comes, and flowers bloom. Resurrection life is not found in the Spring.
The Easter bunny is a symbol of fertility. Resurrection life is not found in offspring or children.
The words, “He is not here” are posted over so many pursuits. The empty tomb is a reminder of where our life is found.
Resurrection life, eternal life, abundant life is found only in Jesus Christ. The tomb is empty. He is risen, and in Him we have life.