They’d all seen Jesus arrested, beaten, and carrying his cross. They’d all seen Jesus nailed to the cross. They’d all seen Nicodemus and Joseph take him down from the cross and wrap him in the spices they had and the cloths they’d brought with them. They’d seen him put in the tomb. They’d seen the stone rolled over the entrance. They’d seen the guards posted to keep anyone from stealing Jesus’ body.
On that Sunday morning when Mary went to the tomb and saw the stone rolled away she was sure the Jewish religious leaders had taken Jesus’ body. It wasn’t until she went back to the garden where Jesus was buried that she encountered the risen Christ. Then she knew for the first time that He was alive! She could hardly believe her eyes!
Can you imagine the emotions she must have been experiencing? You know she wanted to touch him, to hold him, to hug him close. Jesus told her not yet.
Knowing that Jesus was human like you and me don’t you wonder what he was experiencing? He had died, literally. His heart had stopped beating. His lungs stopped breathing. He was buried in a cold, dark tomb cut out of stone.
And now, he’s alive! Don’t you think the human part of him was having trouble understanding what had happened? He’s alive and yet he’d been dead.
Even Peter and John didn’t believe it, even when they saw it with their own eyes. They went away from the tomb sure that someone had stolen the body. They didn’t even believe Mary when she came back and told them she had actually spoken with Jesus.
Is it any wonder when we tell that story today that people have so much trouble believing it? Is it any wonder that we doubt sometimes? How is it possible for someone to die, to be buried, and then be alive again?
Yet, that is what we believe. The cross is empty and so is the tomb. Jesus is alive! For us and the world that is good news because what Jesus said would happen actually did happen. Death was defeated.
Alleluia! Jesus is alive!