He is not here, but is risen!Luke 24:6
From the previous post, we shared the account of the execution and death of our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross.
From the Gospel of Luke:
Now behold, there was a man named Joseph, a council member, a good and just man. 51 He had not consented to their decision and deed. He was from Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who himself was also waiting for the kingdom of God. 52 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 53 Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a tomb that was hewn out of the rock, where no one had ever lain before. 54 That day was the Preparation, and the Sabbath drew near.
55 And the women who had come with Him from Galilee followed after, and they observed the tomb and how His body was laid. 56 Then they returned and prepared spices and fragrant oils. And they rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment.Luke 23:50-56
Continuing with the story, the author of the Gospel Luke wrote:
Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. 2 But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. 3 Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. 5 Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, 7 saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’ ”
Even though these events of the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ happened almost two thousand years ago, these are true accounts and still relevant to us. The story of Jesus, His life, death and resurrection happened in a real place in a real time.
About two years ago, in January 2020, the Lord blessed David and me to travel and visit the Holy Land. It was an awesome experience to be in the actual place where all these events happened.
One of the Bible sites we visited in Jerusalem is a place called the Garden Tomb. This is another site many Christian groups believe to be the traditional site where Jesus was buried. Adjacent to the park is a hill that looks more like the description of Golgotha. In the Gospels, it says, “And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center.”(John 19:17-18)
Inside the park was a nicely landscaped garden of beautiful and colorful plants, flowers, and trees. I enjoyed the peaceful, serene atmosphere, and it was not too crowded. In another corner of the Garden was the Tomb which was cut from a rocky hill. Inside the tomb were two chambers with an iron fence between. The inner chamber is the main tomb in which the body of Jesus was laid to rest after He was crucified. The tomb was believed to be owned by Joseph of Arimathea.
“Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid” (John 19:38-42).
As I entered the empty tomb, it was an awesome experience seeing and touching with my bare hands the rough and cold stone where my Lord Jesus was laid some two thousand years ago. I’m at a loss for words; it was truly an indescribable experience. It was a surreal moment to be right there at the spot where Christ arose from the dead – a foundation of my faith, the Christian faith, the empty tomb. As the apostle Paul says,
“And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! …But now Christ is risen from the dead and has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.” (I Corinthians 15:17, 20)
For many years I have read the story of the crucifixion and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, but to see, touch, and feel the actual place where those events happened made my faith more real. I became more certain that those stories were not just fairy tales, legends, or myths. They were true accounts of the death and resurrection of my Lord Jesus Christ. He died on the cross because of His great love for you and me. And when Jesus died, He did not stay on the cross. He did not stay in the tomb; Jesus rose again and is now sitting at the right hand of God the Father in heaven interceding for us.
Therefore, He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. (Hebrews 7:25)
Again, the Apostle Paul said, “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” (Romans 8:11)
Christ is risen, and Christ will come again! Thus, with these words, amidst the crazy things going on in the world, we followers of our Lord Jesus Christ have all the reasons to have hope and to rejoice!
All Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version, NKJV.