“Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed.” –John 20:6-8
He saw and believed.
Saw what? Strips of linen and a neatly folded head wrap.
Believed what? That Jesus was no longer there. Scripture is unclear as to exactly what John believed, but it’s safe to say that he, at least, believed the earlier report from Mary that Christ was missing from the tomb. Maybe he believed more deeply, that, in fact, Jesus had been resurrected. Regardless of the depth of his belief, one thing was for certain–
Jesus was no longer in the tomb. This fact remains.
Jesus is no longer in the tomb.
Why, then, do we so often treat him as if he were still there . . . assign him to his grave, keep him locked up behind stone as the voiceless, immovable Jesus? Hesitantly, quietly we whisper our unbelief: If only he’d been the one.
I know it sounds harsh. Who of us as Christians would ever admit to keeping Christ in the tomb? I’ll admit it. Sometimes I don’t give the resurrection the respect it’s due. Every time my unbelief gets the best of me, instead of making my way to the tomb to behold Christ’s resurrection, I often make my way to the cross to take hold of his death. Certainly, both truths—the death and resurrection of my Lord—are equally important to any story of faith. But when my journey of grace stops short of the empty tomb, I’ve missed the rest of the story.
That rest of the story? Resurrected life. Life beyond the cross. Life beyond death. Life lived most radiantly and confidently because of the empty tomb.
Let us not stop short of the tomb this Lenten season. Instead, let us run alongside Peter and John, and let us behold what they beheld; let us believe what they believed.
Jesus is no longer in the tomb. Instead,
- Jesus is alive and well and sitting at the right hand of his Father.
- Jesus is alive in us through the power and indwelling of his precious, Holy Spirit.
- Jesus is here.
“Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29)
Believe and be blessed, friends. As always . . .
Peace for the journey,