24 Very early in the morning on the first day of the week, the women went to the tomb, bringing the fragrant spices they had prepared. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they went in, they didn’t find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 They didn’t know what to make of this. Suddenly, two men were standing beside them in gleaming bright clothing. 5 The women were frightened and bowed their faces toward the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He isn’t here, but has been raised. Remember what he told you while he was still in Galilee, 7 that the Human One must be handed over to sinners, be crucified, and on the third day rise again.” 8 Then they remembered his words. 9 When they returned from the tomb, they reported all these things to the eleven and all the others. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles. 11 Their words struck the apostles as nonsense, and they didn’t believe the women. 12 But Peter ran to the tomb. When he bent over to look inside, he saw only the linen cloth. Then he returned home, wondering what had happened.
At dawn the women have come to the grave to finish preparing Jesus’ body for burial. They can’t believe what they see; the stone is rolled away, the tomb is empty, the body is gone, and the grave cloths are left behind. Where is the corpse of Jesus? The women were at the crucifixion and saw Jesus suffer and die. At first they’re confused and then they’re frightened by the sudden appearance of two angels.
Imagine the range of emotions these women experienced. First the joy and expectation of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, then his arrest and finally the reality of the death of their savior on the cross. Death and grief, the loss of all their hope, have robbed them of seeing any other possibility than the finality that Jesus was dead and gone forever.
But then the angels’ question brings them to their senses, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He isn’t here, but has been raised. Remember what he told you. The Human One must be handed over to sinners, be crucified and on the third day rise again.” Then the women remember Jesus’ words with wonder and joy they tell the apostles about their amazing experience, only to be viewed by them as talking nonsense. Would we have believed the women if we had been there? Even Peter, after he goes to the empty tomb to check their story, is left wondering.
by Jeneene Reduker
For Pondering & Prayer
How often, when we are overcome by evil, death or despair, do we remember the words of our savior Jesus? When we try to explain the resurrection of Jesus to others, we are often viewed as speaking nonsense too. The good news of Jesus seems to good to be true.
Because we’re human, God’s plan of redemption for all of creation seems impossible to us. God raising Jesus from the dead is the ultimate proof of God’s faithfulness, grace and love for us. God is the God of the living, who makes all things new, who has overcome death with eternal life and transforms all things for good. We are the children of the resurrection, one with Christ. We will rise with Jesus. When life seems impossible, remember that Jesus died so we may live.
Prayer: Holy God of the living, we give you thanks for all that you have done for us through your son Jesus. Help us to remember that we are children of the resurrection, and that nothing is impossible for you. Amen.
Our Lenten Series
For our Lent series this year, we’ll be using the Adam Hamilton book Luke: Jesus and the Outsiders, Outcasts, and Outlaws. At his website, you can find a 40-day reading plan to help you read through the Gospel of Luke during Lent. And join us for worship, in-person or online, at 9:00 & 10:30 every Sunday.