Then they went away quickly from the tomb, fearful yet overjoyed, and ran to announce this to his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them on their way and greeted them. They approached, embraced his feet, and did him homage. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.” While they were going, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had happened. They assembled with the elders and took counsel; then they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him while we were asleep.’ And if this gets to the ears of the governor, we will satisfy (him) and keep you out of trouble.” The soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has circulated among the Jews to the present (day). Matthew 28:8-15
Three or more days after Jesus was believed to have died from being crucified on the cross, two contrasting stories will circulate. Two opposing stories will spread regarding why the tomb is now empty.
One story says Jesus has risen from the dead, the other says His body was stolen by His disciples. One story comes from the total number of women who came to the tomb, the other comes from some of the guard who were at the tomb. One story comes from lowly women, the other from regarded soldiers. One story originated from fearful and afraid yet overjoyed women, the other comes from supposedly brave guards. One story comes from women who received grace and forgiveness, the other from men who received money. One story comes from women who woke up from sleep, the other comes from men who said they were asleep. One story comes from women who gave their lives to Jesus; the other comes from men who are trying to save their lives from the governor. One story points to a specific place of promise – Galilee, the other points to a place to nowhere. One story requires faith, the other logic.
Friends, search the depth of your hearts. Which men or women will you listen to? Which story will influence your life? Which story will get your prime time? Which story will you bookmark? Which story will you highlight? Which story will you believe?
Distinguish. For the story you will believe is the story you will tell.
Decide. For the story you will believe is the story you will live.
Postscript- Originally posted on April 14, 2009
Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed. John 20:8
They thought of visiting Him for a long time. This is where you come from day to day. You express your love from week to week. Months will pass by, you still step on the same steps to commemorate. Years will commenced, your feet will still take you here. But not with Jesus. There will be no All Saints’ Day get-together for His followers. There will be no candles to lit at the tomb at the start of November. No memories of the dead. No death anniversaries for years to come. His death did not last. His being in darkness was not for long. Just three days. Short.
And so with us. Our difficulties will come to pass. Our despair will not last. Our sufferings are just visiting. Our distress are here for a vacation. The hardest of life to live is a wink. The trials we have are temporary. Your financial problems comes in the winter yet gone in spring. Your career or employment concerns goes like as a TV commercial. Your marriage or family issues are cars driving in a thruway, very fast to stay with you. We will not have to have All Saints’ Day. Jesus is not dead. Jesus has risen. Jesus has given us hope. All these difficulties will be short because we have hope in Him. In Him who has risen. In Him who defeated death. In three days.
Arrived at your tomb. Just see and believe. Our hardships will all be short.
So she ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.” John 20:2
To maximize benefits of having a burial lot, our family does this thing. Whenever there is a latest death in the clan, we ask ourselves if we can exhume one of the remains of our loved ones so we can use the spot again and just put back into the tomb the bones of the loved one who was just exhumed. Normally ten years would be sufficient to find bone remains in the grave. There are required paper works on this process, and during the exhumation, a family member witnesses the digging. As always and as expected, we would find the bones of the loved one in the grave being exhumed. The remains are always present. The dead is still dead.
Exactly the opposite here. Jesus’ remains were no where to be found. Just days after His crucifixion, His remains should be in the tomb. What Mary and the disciples saw was not as always as expected. What they saw was not a tomb filled with remains. They found an empty tomb. The dead is not dead. The laying rises. He is living not dead. Unlike humans, He does not remain in the grave. Unlike humans, He rises. Unlike humans, His remains are not in the grave. Unlike humans when put into a tomb they stay after years and after years, Jesus after three days does not.
His remains do not remain. He is risen! Alleluia!