“Very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. They found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. So they went in, but they didn’t find the body of the Lord Jesus. As they stood there puzzled, two men suddenly appeared to them, clothed in dazzling robes. The women were terrified and bowed with their faces to the ground. Then the men asked, ‘Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what he told you back in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that He would rise again on the third day.’” Luke 24:1-7 (NLT)
While skeptics and critics continue to try to put Jesus back in the grave, the empty tomb is an enduring symbol of the resurrection. Even when the women went to the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body early that Sunday morning, Dr. Luke tells us:
“They found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. So they went in, but they didn’t find the body of the Lord Jesus.” Luke 24:2-3 (NLT)
Could they have gone to the wrong tomb? Almost as if he anticipated that question, Dr. Luke points out in the previous chapter that the women watched carefully as Joseph took the body down from the cross, wrapped it in a long sheet of linen cloth, and laid it in a new tomb that had been carved out of a rock. In Luke 23:55, he writes:
“As His body was taken away, the women from Galilee followed and saw the tomb where His body was placed.”
Furthermore, as they stood in the tomb wondering what could have happened they encountered the angels who asked them,
“Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead!” Luke 24:5-6 (NLT)
The strongest evidence for the empty tomb were the eyewitness accounts of the resurrection. In addition to the women who visited the tomb, Jesus was seen by over 500 eyewitnesses at one time. In 1 Corinthians 15, the apostle Paul wrote:
“He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve. After that, He was seen by more than 500 of His followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. Then He was seen by James and later by all the apostles. Last of all, as though I had been born at the wrong time, I also saw Him.” 1 Corinthians 15:5-8 (NLT)
In his book, The Case for Christ, former atheist and legal editor Lee Strobel writes,
“Without question, the amount of testimony and corroboration of Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances is staggering. To put it into perspective, if you were to call each one of the witnesses to a court of law to be cross-examined for just fifteen minutes each, and you went around the clock without a break, it would take you from breakfast on Monday until dinner on Friday to hear them all. After listening to 129 straight hours of eyewitness testimony, who could possibly walk away unconvinced?”
Are you still looking among the dead for one who is alive? Open your mind and your heart to the evidence, and seek Him who has risen from the dead. Receive His life today! The gospel writer John, who was the only disciple at the crucifixion and one of the first to see the empty tomb, wrote:
“Yet to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.” John 1:12 (NIV)
You can experience the risen Christ in your life today. How?
Believe + Receive = Become!
The message of Easter is simple. The tomb is empty so that your life may be filled!