Early in the morning, before the sun had risen, they set out for the tomb. What was the use in waiting? They hadn’t slept in 48 hours, and they weren’t going to start now. His body had been buried hastily, and they had waited until after sabbath to return and do it true justice. Sure, He hadn’t been who He claimed, who they thought, who they WANTED Him to be – but He was still a friend, a teacher, and they felt they owed Him that.
Their conversations dwell on the events of the past 3 days – filled with anguish and regret. How could they have let this happen? They should have talked Him out of coming. They should have talked Him out of staying. Maybe Peter could have done something more, or John could have said something profound. If only they had seen this coming…
There is talk about who was going to go where and what they would return to. As women who had left their families and followed Him, there were more questions than answers – and less possibilities. Perhaps they’d find someone and start life over, but really, what was left worth hoping for?
As they walk past the place where Jesus’ cross had stood, a sudden and collective quiet grips them. None of them knew what to say, and so they say nothing at all. A glance was all they could stomach, and their eyes saw nothing but dirt as they make the turn towards the tomb.
“Mary?! Do you see?”
“Where are the guards?!”
“Who could move the stone?!?”
“Do you think we should go in?!”
Luke 24:4–8 (ESV) ~ While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” And they remembered his words,
“What do we do?!?!?”
“Should we go and look?!?”
“Let’s go tell the others!”
Luke 24:9–12 (ESV) ~ …and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened.
Peter didn’t know what to think. Who to believe. How to respond. But HOPE has retuned. As he runs from the tomb back towards the room, his mind races. What is he going to say? How will they ever believe him? Thomas never will. Had he left John back at the tomb? There was no time for worrying about that now – he has to get back and let them all know. Together, they can surely find Him.
John 20:19–21 (ESV) ~ On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”
It was really Him. There are doubts left for those who stand in this room. Their King has indeed come – on a donkey to a cross – and He has brought with Him a Kingdom that is nothing like they thought and everything they’ve ever wanted. Death no longer need be feared! Sin is defeated! The King has returned and He is making all things new, and He is beginning with them.
Their faith was not misplaced. They had not been deceived. Jesus is alive. This time WAS different. The whole world is upside down. Denials do not matter. The tomb is empty! Rest and peace have come.
Hosanna – the King indeed has come.
He has come to save!