“Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, ‘They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.’” John 20:1–2
As John recalls the events connected with the resurrection of Christ he writes that very early on the morning of the first day of the week, so early that it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went alone to the tomb. When she got there she saw that the stone had been rolled away and this must have frightened her because seeing this she ran and told Simon Peter and John that Jesus’ body had been taken away and that they didn’t know where he’d been buried.
Hearing this Peter and John ran to the tomb. John arrived first but didn’t go in. Instead looking in he saw the inside of the tomb empty except for the linen wrappings. Peter then arrived and went into the tomb, followed by John, and together they saw the linen wrappings lying in the tomb and also the cloth that had been covering Jesus’ head folded and lying separate from the rest of the burial cloths.
John reports that having witnessed the empty tomb he believed the report he’d been told by Mary.
But what does he believe? That the body of Jesus has been taken and buried in an unknown location. Verse nine of John chapter twenty clearly states that “as yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead.”
How slow we are to believe the word of God. Jesus has told the disciples many times that he would die and in three days rise from the dead and now when it actually happens they immediately reach for an explanation other than the one Jesus has given.
Who did they think had moved the body? The Jewish leaders that Matthew records had sealed the tomb and set a guard over it so that no one would be able to steal Christ’s body away? Joseph and Nicodemus who had chosen this tomb because it was close by and allowed them to lay Jesus to rest before the Sabbath hours began?
Logically there was no one who would have removed Jesus’ body in the night, but the disciples hadn’t believed Jesus when he told them he would rise again so when they saw the empty tomb they didn’t think that he’d risen.
Friends, we need to listen to Jesus as he speaks to us through the scriptures now and believe. Many things are about to happen that others, and even we ourselves, will attempt to explain away. But Jesus has a perfect record, everything he’s said will happen has happened. Before time runs out we need to know what he’s told us and believe.
Jesus is risen and very soon all he’s promised will be fulfilled. It’s true, trials will come, but they will quickly pass and then we’ll see Jesus coming in the clouds to receive the redeemed to himself so we can forever be with him.