Little is known about what Christ did between the crucifixion and the resurrection. Some people believe he went to hell to proclaim the message to those who had previously passed. Some believe Christ went to Heaven and was with the Father. Even some believe He never left the tomb until that third day. While we know little in way of direct proof and Scripture, we do have some text that can guide us in the right spot.
Surprisingly, we know very little about the Marys who found the tomb that resurrection morning. Reading from Mark 16 we can know that as they approached the tomb that morning, they had come fully prepared to find Jesus still laying in the tomb. Mark 16:1 tells us that on Saturday evening they went and purchased spices. They did this in preparation for going to the tomb the next morning. Scripture tells us in verse 2 that just at sunrise they made their way to the tomb as they were going to prepare his body for continued burial. There was a process that is unheard of today, at least in America, where spices and perfumes were used to quicken the process of decomposition of the body. As it was quickly decomposing, they would prepare what is called a ‘bone box’ and they would use that to transport the bones to either a place to bury them or they would scatter them. Tombs were used over again.
But as they walked, they discussed who would open the tomb. How would the stone be rolled away? And as they approached the tomb, they found it open with an Angel inside waiting to deliver the good news. Jesus was not there! He had risen! And even better, just as he said he would! This is an interesting part of the story to me. Matthew 28:6 adds those words — just as he said he would. Jesus had been telling the disciples and those around him that on the third day he would rise from the grave. There was not a government, a cross, persecution, death, or even a tomb that could hold him back! So why did the Marys go to the tomb that morning expecting to find a "still-dead" savior?
I think the answer isn’t as difficult to find, if we simply ask our self why we doubt? During times of earnest prayer, do we truly believe that God can heal our broken bodies from a disease or a mishap? During times of trial and storms in our life, do we believe that God can carry us through it? While we're on the boat, do we believe that God will walk on water to rescue us? What about when He calls us out of the boat, do we believe that God will give us the power to walk on water? It was this doubt, or lack of understanding, that caused the Marys and the others to go and purchase spices the evening before. Now, I am not suggesting that we quit doing reasonable things to ensure safety and health for us. Purchasing spices was reasonable. But when we show up to the empty tomb in our life, are we going to stand in fear or are we going to marvel at the work of the Lord and the work that has been done? He said he would do it!
When we turn to John 20, we get just a glimpse of some additional truths about the resurrection. Doubting Thomas wanted to see all the proof that this was truly Jesus and he was who He said he was. Without giving you the whole story, Jesus speaks some bone-chilling words. He says in verse 29, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.” Do you need to see to know He is resurrected this morning? Do you need to see the nail holes or the pierced sides? I don’t! I know the tomb is empty because of all that Jesus has done in my life. We don’t have a body to prepare on this day, we have a story to tell! Find a friend who does not have a church to attend tomorrow and invite them to go with you. There are wonderful churches all through this county that would love to see a person who needs to see an empty grave.
— Clint McBroom is pastor at the First Church of God of Newton.