What emotions the past two days have brought for the women who followed Jesus.
Friday, full of anguish and shock and numbing grief as they watch from the fringes. Jesus – their Jesus, the one they love so much – suffers through a sham of a trial. Is beaten beyond recognition. Ridiculed and spit upon. Forced to carry His own cross along the streets and up to Golgatha, then nailed to a cross in the most agonizing form of death imaginable.
Saturday, full of disbelief. Wishing this nightmare would end. Wondering how they would go on without Jesus. Shedding too many tears and soul-wracking sobs to count.
Sunday, meeting early in the morning to prepare His body with spices. Still mourning – because will that ever end? – but grateful they can offer Him this one last gift.
Then they arrive at His tomb and see the stone has been rolled away. Or are they imagining things in their grief? Are they really at the right tomb?
The man nearby says the most amazing words ever spoken: “He is not here!”
Not because the women are at the wrong tomb. Not because robbers have stolen Jesus’ body. Not because He has been moved to another place.
But because He has been raised from the dead, just as He told them would happen.
So many emotions run through the women at those words: confusion, relief, disbelief, excitement.
And overriding it all, once they see the empty tomb for themselves, joy. Pure, unadulterated, all-consuming joy.
Their Jesus is not dead. Their Jesus is not gone forever.
Their Jesus really is who He said He is, really is who they believed: the Son of God, the long-awaited Messiah, the one to save the people from their sins.
He isn’t there because He is alive! Resurrected, restored, and returning to His glory.
They squeal and cry and probably stumble over their own feet in their rush to find the disciples. To share the glorious news that still amazes us today:
“He is not here!”
Thank you, Jesus, for loving us so much more than we ever deserve.
For still being alive today as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Most of all, for taking our place on the cross as our Savior.
We give you all the glory, honor and praise.
Happy Easter, my friends.