“Do not be amazed. You seek Jesus the Nazarene who has been crucified. He was raised. He is not here. See the place where they put Him?” Mark 16:6 (Read Mark 16:1-16)
The women – Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome – came to the tomb very early Sunday morning expecting to find death. They came to anoint Jesus’ dead body and were wondering who would roll away the great stone from the doorway of the tomb so they could deal with Jesus’ death and decay with spices and ointments.
But what did they find? The large stone had already been rolled back from the entrance of the tomb. And inside the tomb they saw no body, but an angel sitting on the right side. They were amazed.
The angel said to them, ““Do not be amazed. You seek Jesus the Nazarene who has been crucified. He was raised. He is not here. See the place where they put Him?”
They came expecting death, but instead they found life. They came to anoint the dead and decaying body of Jesus, but instead they found that Jesus’ body was not decaying in the tomb (Ps. 16:10); He was raised and alive! Jesus later appeared to them (Matt. 28:9; John 20:1-18), to Peter, to two on the road to Emmaus and to the rest of His disciples (Luke 24:1ff.; 1 Cor. 15:1ff.).
Why have you come today? What do you expect to find? Have you come to anoint the dead body of Jesus – to memorialize Him in some way for His holy life and His innocent sufferings and death? You won’t find Him in the tomb. Instead of finding death, you’ll find life.
You won’t have to roll a stone away; it’s already rolled back. You won’t have to anoint a dead body; He’s not dead but alive, raised from the dead on the third day, as He promised. He’s not moldering in some tomb outside of Jerusalem; He’s risen, glorified and at God’s right hand reigning over all things!
And what does that mean for you and for me? It means His death was full payment for the sins of all the world. “Our Lord Jesus … was delivered because our offenses and was raised because of our justification” (Rom. 4:24,25). In Him we have forgiveness!
It means the cemetery won’t be the place to come looking for us on the Last Day. Our graves too will be empty because Christ Jesus, who died for our sins and rose again, will raise us up. He is the firstfruit of those who sleep (1 Cor. 15:20-23). As He said, “Because I live, you also shall live” (John 14:19). He is preparing us an eternal dwelling place in His Father’s house and will soon come and take us to be with Him forever! Cf. 1 Thess. 4:13ff.
We thank You, dearest Lord Jesus, for going to the cross in our stead and rising up again that we too might be raised up on the Last Day to life everlasting. In Your name we pray. Amen.