Luke 24: 1Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. 2 And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. 3 And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: 5 And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, 7 Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. 8 And they remembered his words, 9 And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest. 10 It was Mary Magdalene and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles.
I’m thankful for the detail here in the book of Luke. The four gospels bear the testimony of the resurrection and put it so simply that a child can understand. In Luke 2 the birth of Jesus is done the same way–simply. “And so it was….” The story was told how Mary had Jesus and wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger because there was no room in the inn. An angel came here too revealing the news to lowly shepherds in the field. It was all simple.
A graveyard. A cross. There are cemeteries everywhere. Jesus’ cross had probably been used many times. They didn’t make new ones for every person. Executions were almost a daily occurrence because that was the Roman style. Stoning was the style of the Jews. When Jesus died his blood covered it all. A tomb was needed. Joseph used his. This was meant for him and his family. As of yet it hadn’t been needed; Jesus needed one so Joseph’s was borrowed. Jesus didn’t ask for it anymore than he did that little donkey; they were given for his cause. It’s a wonder that Joseph and Nicodemus both weren’t in their tombs because of their belief in Jesus. They had played it down until the cross. They went to Pilate asking for the body. Pilate agreed but set his seal upon the stone laid in front and put a guard there. In spite of what Pilate and the guards could do, in spite of that seal…there was a greater power.
Let’s look at what the women did and didn’t find when they came to the tomb on that first Easter Sunday morning.
They didn’t bring what you might think to the tomb. They had followed and watched Jesus put into the tomb. They wanted to properly prepare his body. Though mourning they prepared spices. One of them was myrrh. That’s one of the spices the wise men brought as a gift to Jesus. Before daybreak the women went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away. The seal was broken. An angel had come and removed it. The guards fainted. One day Jesus will come and break the seal of this old world. No matter how hard people try to put it back it can’t be done. It’s been rolled away. The glow of the angels was there.
When the women went in they didn’t find the body of Jesus. They found two angels instead. Later when Peter and John came the angels were gone. John looked in and saw how the garments were laid and believed. The angels asked the women Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. The women were the first to hear and see the resurrection. Lowly shepherds were the first to hear of his birth. This announcement to the women was greater. They all spread the news.
Today we have freshly found it again. He is not in the grave. He is risen just as he said!