There are four books of the New Testament called "gospels", that is, summaries of the life of Jesus Christ. They are:
The Gospel according to St. Matthew;
The Gospel according to St. Mark;
The Gospel according to St. Luke;
The Gospel according to St. John.
Every one of the four has its own focus and style. Today's text is found in St. Mark's Gospel, the shortest and simplest account. There are many more details to the story of the first Easter, but in Mark we find the most imporant fact: the empty tomb.
The empty tomb changed everything for the women who arrived early in the morning to anoint the body of Jesus with aromatic spices. They were worried about the stone that sealed the entrance to the tomb.
The Lord's body was placed in a cave that had been excavated to be a tomb, that of Joseph of Arimathea. The enimies of Christ, the priests and the Romans, remembered the Lord's words and said to each other, "This man said, I will die and rise again on the third day. It's obvious that His disciples plan to rob the tomb, hide the body and tell the people that He still lives." So His enemies sealed Christ's tomb with a great stone, almost too much for two men to lift.
That is why the women said, "Who will roll away the stone from the sepulchre?" But the stone was not all they had to worry about. Evidently, they had not heard of the guard stationed in front of the tomb. A group of Roman soldiers had orders to stop anyone from disturbing the tomb in any way on the third day. According to their orders, if anyone disturbed the tomb, all of them would be executed. However, the strong soldiers motivated by the threat of death failed in their mission. For them, everything changed when an angel of the Lord removed the stone., according to St. Matthew.
When the women arrived, the soldiers were unable to move, and the entrance to the tomb was open. Furthermore, the tomb was empty! This fact changed everything for the women, the soldiers and all the nations of the world.
The empty tomb was exactly the result that the enemies of Christ had been trying to avoid. Their schemes did not matter, because the tomb was empty. The stone and the soldiers only served to prove that the tomb was empty and not because of any effort by the weak and dispirited disciples of Jesus.
The question that His enemies could not answer was "Where is Jesus?" He was tortured, crucified and sealed in the tomb, but He was not there. Where did His body go? It is a question for all unbelievers. The evidence for the empty tomb is compelling. If Christ did not rise from the dead, how do you explain the empty tomb?
It is the question for us as well. Where is Jesus? Certainly our answer is, Christ lives! Christ has risen! He has risen indeed! We know that Christ is not among the dead, but is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.
But where is Jesus for us in truth?
The fact of the empty tomb has changed everything for us. Our destiny, our purpose in life, everything. Can the world see the impact of this in our daily routine?
For us, Christ does not live only at the right hand of the Father, from whence He will come to judge the living and the dead, but we also find Him in the preaching of the Word and when we receive His body and blood in the sacrament of the altar. Christ lives in us because we are members of His body in the world today, that is, the church, of which Christ is the Head.
Because Christ lives, we live for Christ and in Christ through His death and resurrection. This is our joy and our hope in this day of the Resurrection. Glory be to God, Christ has risen, He has risen indeed!
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