Read Mark 16:1-7.
“And entering into the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, arrayed in a white robe; and they were amazed. And he said unto them, Be not amazed; ye seek Jesus, the Nazarene, who bath been crucified. He is risen; he is not here. Behold the place where they laid him.” (Mark 16:5-6).
The great festival, was over. Large groups of people from the various places in Palestine, as well as from other lands, had visited Jerusalem also this year to observe the Passover.
We have reason to believe that the rumors of the great prophet had traveled far and had brought many to the feast who might otherwise not have come. Some may also have had hopes for physical healing; so by the use of crutches and the kindly help of other people they had made their way to Jerusalem.
But now He is gone; there is no help to be had. He was too good to be permitted to live. Sinful and self-seeking people could not endure so much of love and truth without passing judgment on themselves. To save themselves they condemned the Savior.
He is dead. His grave has been sealed with the Roman seal; men with nerves of steel, men who regard neither God nor man, guard the grave.
Consequently, all the hopeless and helpless ones must return to their homes to be racked by pain, sorrow, and sin as hitherto.
The enemies of Christ have occasion to rejoice. He has been buried by faithful men. The festival is over without rebellion or revolution, and the grave is guarded by doughty men. No fanatic shall have opportunity to remove the corpse and say that He is risen. The tumult has subsided; His friends have been defeated and His enemies are victorious.
The Sabbath is drawing to a close; the Scribes and Pharisees betake themselves to rest securely. But the disciples lack both light and comfort. In the quietness of the night, while hopelessness benumbs the disciples and intoxication of victory lulls the enemy to sleep, three women make their way to the grave; they arrive just as the day is dawning. Either they do not know, or they have forgotten, what would meet them there. They consider the stone, but not the guard; if they had thought of the guard they would most surely have remained at home.
Fortunately, they forgot; perhaps they did not know. At any rate they went. They could not have been so ignorant as to think that they could drive the soldiers away and break the seal; they knew Rome too well for that.
Time and again it has been fortunate that there have been innocent and childlike people who have had greater light and warmth in the heart than depth and clarity in the understanding.
These three women have rendered us a greater service than we can appreciate. If about fifteen or twenty strong men had been the first to arrive at the grave we can be certain that the enemies would have charged them with subduing the guard, breaking the seal and stealing the body. But now there were only three weak and innocent women who sighed because a large stone separated them from their friend and benefactor.
When they reached the grave they found that which they had never dreamed of. The stone had been rolled away, the grave was empty, and an angel of God was the watchman. Still frightened, they are puzzled by the strange turn of events.
It is now that the great battle begins between faith and doubt in the hearts of the disciples. They would like to believe, but this is unbelievable. They cannot believe for joy and amazement; all the while Jesus is trying in every possible way to show that He is risen. He meets them in Galilee according to His promise. He walks with them mile after mile. He asks them to cast their net into the sea. He gives them food, and before their eyes He Himself eats. He approaches Thomas and asks him to place his hands in the wounds. He stands among them while hundreds watch.
Can all this be deceit and illusion?
Is anything in the Bible declared with greater conviction than that Jesus is risen?
If we cannot believe this, what can we believe? A darkness of the devil has enveloped these people who, with the Bible in hand, will declare that they believe in Jesus but will deny that He is risen. In order to make Satan’s deception more plausible they say that He arose spiritually; that is supposed to be nearly as good as a bodily resurrection.
Can a spirit die and rise? Has a spirit ever been buried?
No, they who deny a bodily resurrection of Jesus thereby deny the Saviorhood of Jesus, and have no right to bear the name of Christ.
“If Christ hath not been raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.” (I Cor. 15:17).
Listen to what He Himself says to His frightened disciples after His resurrection: “Why are ye troubled? And wherefore do questioning arise in your heart? See my hands and feet, that it is myself. Handle me and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me having. And when he has said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And while they still disbelieved for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, ‘Have ye here anything to eat?’ And they gave him a piece of broiled fish. And he took it and ate before them.” (Luke 24:38-43).
God be praised for these words! They will stand when everything else in the world passes away. When we leave the world we shall meet our Savior as God and man.
Like the golden sun ascending,
Breaking through the gloom of night,
On the earth his glory spending
So that darkness takes to flight;
Thus my Jesus from the grave
And death’s dismal, dreaded cave.
Rose triumphant Easter morning,
At the early purple dawning.
The Christ who died on Calvary has made a perfect atonement for our sins; the Christ who rose on Easter morning has broken the power of death. He is the King of life; as He lives we shall also live. “Whosoever liveth and believeth on me shall never die”; these are the words of Jesus to a woman who wept over her departed brother.
Now I know that I
Shall live eternally;
Now I see the way
A cross life’s chartless sea.
Easter gives us hope, not only for our souls, but for our bodies as well. It is our whole being that is saved. One day the graves shall be opened, and we shall arise as perfect human beings with holy souls in immortal bodies.
Then let the years pass by, the days become few, and our hair grows gray. What joy it shall be to sit near the end of life and gaze into the promised land! The homecoming day for the bride of Christ is approaching
Death’s but the ferryman
To heaven’s glory land.
Death is not permanent: life prevails over it.
Copyright 2020 Hauge Lutheran Innermission Federation. All Rights Reserved.