And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not. Then arose Peter, and ran unto the sepulchre; and stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves, and departed, wondering in himself at that which was come to pass. -Luke 24:11, 12 (KJV)
About two years ago I was visiting my parents in my hometown of Dayton, Ohio and I decided to make a sort of pilgrimage to the graves of two important people in our nations’ history. Orville and Wilber Wright are from Dayton and they are buried at Woodland Cemetery, which is not far from my parents’ home. Their graves were easy to find and my father and I were both moved by the thought that we were standing by the tombstones of men who had changed history. The Wright brothers were the first to construct an airplane and get it to fly. Modern aviation is built upon their original ideas and theories.
A little ways down from the Wright brothers’ graves is a small family mausoleum. The people buried there were obviously people of great wealth as the crypt is of solid marble, well constructed, and easily over 100 years old. For a moment I imagined coming to this tomb in the early hours of the morning. I would have had great reservations about going inside – even in daylight, let alone before dawn. I am not superstitious, but I am human and that crypt was not a pleasant-looking place to be.
The Bible says the women who had attended Jesus’ needs during His earthly ministry came to the tomb early in the morning on the first day of the week with the intention of anointing the Lord’s body with spices used for embalming. Here we see not only devotion on the part of the women, but also pure courage. Would you have gone to the tomb, before dawn, for such a task? When they arrived they found the stone rolled away, and looking inside they saw visions of angels who gave them the news which continues to rock the world to its foundations. “He is not here, but is risen” (Luke 24:6). Trembling and bewildered they hurried to the disciples and told them the news. However, in their excitement they didn’t seem to be making much sense and the disciples questioned what had happened. Simon Peter then went to the tomb and also found it empty and in his heart wondered what had taken place.
My friends, is it so difficult to believe the tomb was empty and Christ has risen? What took place was precisely what Jesus said would come to pass; He would be tried, crucified, would die for the sins of the world, and on the third day rise again. As His followers we have faith in Christ, the reality of the resurrection, which takes us beyond doubt to pure spiritual power.
Because of the resurrection we can face today, and we can surely face tomorrow – because Jesus lives!