The Adventure of the Empty Tomb

Posted: April 8, 2018 in Luke, Uncategorized

Luke 24:1-12, “The Adventure of the Empty Tomb”

Although I’ve read only a handful, I’ve always been fascinated with the stories of Sherlock Holmes. Recent revivals on TV and in the movies have been great to watch – all are interpretations of this fictional detective who observes the tiniest of details, and is able to deduce the facts surrounding a case, able to solve the unsolvable. Told from the viewpoint of his companion, Dr. John Watson, the stories come with titles such as, “The Adventure of the Speckled Band,” “The Adventure of the Engineer’s Thumb,” “The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor,” etc. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had a rich imagination, but it seems that he was fairly formulaic with his short story titles. 😊

If Arthur Conan Doyle were to title the opening verses of Luke 24, he might have called it, “The Adventure of the Empty Tomb.” Much like a Sherlock Holmes fiction, we witness the impossible, which is solved logically, but miraculously. Thankfully, unlike Sherlock Holmes, the Empty Tomb of Jesus is fact; not fiction.

That the Empty Tomb of Jesus is fact is something truly monumental within the pages of history, and within the existence of the human race as a whole. The Empty Tomb sets Jesus apart from all other religious founders in the world, and truly defines Jesus for who He is. After all, if the tomb had not been empty on Sunday morning, then Jesus would have been just another false prophet – the latest in a long line of men claiming to speak for God, but in the end, nothing more. Without the empty tomb, we could not even remember Jesus as a good teacher. Foundationally, good teachers teach the truth, and when we consider that Jesus taught that He was God and that He would rise from the dead, then if Jesus hadn’t risen Jesus wouldn’t be good. As CS Lewis observed in Mere Christianity, Jesus would be either a liar, or downright crazy. “A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic – on the level with a man who says he’s a poached egg – or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse.” (CS Lewis)

That begs the question: how do we know that Jesus was neither a lunatic nor a liar, but truly the Lord God in the flesh? Answer: the empty tomb. This is what we find in Luke 24. The tomb was discovered empty by the women, it was explained to them by the angels, and it was verified by the apostles. Jesus’ body was gone, and the only logical explanation was that Jesus rose again to life, and left under His own power. Incredible? Yes…but it’s still the truth.

Of course, this was the culmination of everything that had exploded in the last several days. Jesus’ whole life had led up to this moment, but it all came to a head during the week of Passover in Jerusalem. Jesus had celebrated His final Passover meal with the disciples on Thursday night, only to be betrayed by Judas, denied by Peter, and abandoned by the rest. (Interestingly, for all of the text that follows, that was the last mention of Jesus’ disciples until this moment in Chapter 24.) Once Jesus was delivered over to the Jews, He was railroaded through the “legal” system of both Jews and Romans, He was rejected by the people (both Jews and Romans), and finally He was sent to the cross, enduring all kinds of suffering along the way. Although He was mocked by many (both Jews and Romans), some Jews and Romans either came to faith, or showed their faith. There was the criminal hanging on a cross next to Jesus who asked mercy from his Messiah (and received it) – there was the Roman centurion who understood that the Man who died was totally innocent, and the Son of God – there was the Sanhedrin council member Josephus who risked his reputation by caring for the body of Christ – and there were the women who had steadfastly remained at Jesus’ side, witnessing His execution, and observing His burial.

It is with these women that Luke picks up his narrative once more. They had seen Jesus buried, but although they desired to also attend to His body, the approaching Sabbath made it impossible for them to do so. They waited for the Sabbath to pass, and then returned where they last saw Him. What they found was an amazing mystery, but one that was soon solved. The tomb was empty, but their Savior had risen. An empty tomb = a risen Jesus. A risen Jesus = a victorious Lord.

See it, and believe!

Luke 24:1–12

  • Seeking Jesus (1-3)

1 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.

  1. They came to the tomb, intending to finish the job of a final good-bye. They weren’t going to get their chance, but they wouldn’t exactly be disappointed, either. They were in for a wonderful surprise!
  2. The “first day of the week,” is a specific reference to Sunday. Interestingly, the Greek for “week” is the same word used for “Sabbath.” (σάββατον) Whether or not this refers to the specific Sabbath day, or the week as a whole, is something that is determined solely from the context. Because the previous verse spoke of “the Sabbath” needing to pass, and the present verse refers to “the first day,” there’s no doubt the reference here is to the week as a whole. Jesus was raised on a Sunday, which is exactly why most churches gather for worship on Sunday. It isn’t that the Sabbath has changed (contrary to the teaching of many Reformed Protestant churches) – the Sabbath is the 7th day of the week, just as it has been since the initial week of Creation. Saturday is the Sabbath Day in the Scripture (both Old Testament and New Testament), without exception. What has changed is the reason for the worship gathering. It isn’t only to rest from our manual labor in order to give dedicated time to God in praise; it is to rest in the Resurrected Living Lord Jesus, knowing that the spiritual work of salvation is complete. He is the best reason to worship! (And that isn’t limited to one day in particular.)
  3. There is no doubt that Jesus’ empty tomb was discovered on Sunday – but because that day is so clearly defined in the Scripture, the day of Jesus’ crucifixion is often the subject of scrutiny and debate. If Jesus died on a Friday, how could it be said that He was dead for three days, as the Scriptures repeatedly affirm? (Acts 10:40, 1 Cor 15:4) Jesus even personally prophesied that He would rise after three days (Lk 9:22, 13:32, 18:33) – something that would soon be brought to the attention of the women. Three days in the grave is very important to the truth of the Scripture! Answer: That the women arrived at the tomb “very early in the morning” on Sunday fits well within the three-day timeline. In that culture (as today), any part of a day is considered “the” day. If we go to a baseball game on a Friday, we don’t typically say, “I’ll be at the ballpark from 6:00-9:00 on Friday;” we say, “I’ll be at the game Friday.” It wasn’t any different for the ancient Jews. When looking at the timeline of Jesus’ crucifixion, death, burial, and resurrection, we find: Friday 9:00AM, Jesus crucified; 3:00PM Jesus dead. Buried prior to sunset Friday = DAY 1. Friday evening sunset through Saturday sunset as the Sabbath = DAY 2. Saturday sunset through early Sunday morning = DAY 3. Prophecy fulfilled.
  4. That said, the day of the week isn’t the only controversy of Jesus’ resurrection; the time of day has also come under scrutiny. Although Luke is somewhat generic, writing of “very early in the morning,” Matthew writes that it “began to dawn,” (Mt 28:1), Mark writes “when the sun had risen,” (Mk 16:2), and John writes “while it was still dark,” (Jn 20:1). Surely none of these agree, right – these are all contradictions? These are simply different ways of expressing the same thing from different perspectives. Take any four people today outside at 6:45AM, and they’ll describe it as dark, daybreak, dawn, or ‘very early.’ It’s the same way four people in the same room (maybe even a church sanctuary!) can describe the temperature as cold, cool, comfortable, or hot. None of these people would be lying, and none contradict the other. After all, none was giving an exact measurement of the temperature (68* vs. 72*) or an exact time of day (6:45 vs. 7:15). Each was speaking generally from a different personal perspective. – This actually provides quite a bit of credibility to the gospel writings, because although the various writers seem to be familiar with some of the others, they obviously did not copy one another word-for-word. They did not collude together in a grand narrative. They wrote the things they either witnessed (Matthew, John), or researched (Mark, Luke).
    1. BTW, It should not come as a surprise that so much controversy surrounds what is so clearly historical fact. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the primary evidence that He is none other than the Living God, and that every word He said was true. It is the declaration that He is the Son of God, and that He paid the price for our sin. It is the conviction that our sin requires a price to be paid, and that we cannot pay it. That is exactly what atheists, skeptics, and followers of other religions don’t want to believe or admit. They need to find some way to discredit Jesus, and the only way to do it is through the resurrection. Thus, they try to find any inconsistency possible in an attempt to stir up doubt. 
    2. Trust the Scripture! The Biblical record is trustworthy, and has been proven true time & time again throughout the centuries. The Bible will always come under attack, all up until Jesus returns to earth, but the Bible will always withstand the attack. You can bet your life on it!
  5. Don’t miss the main point. It was early Sunday when the women arrived. They had waited as long as they dared. They were obedient to the Sabbath rest from Friday evening-Saturday evening, and it was too late to head out after dark on Saturday. But their prioritized their visit Sunday morning! The very first thing they did was to head to Jesus’ tomb, bringing the spices (literally “aromatics”) they had earlier prepared. Why does this matter? Because it illustrates their whole plan: they had come to address a corpse. Jesus’ body was laid in the tomb Friday afternoon, and that was how they fully expected to find it Sunday morning. IOW, Jesus was dead. There was no thought in the minds of the women of a conspiracy, of a coma, of the potential of grave robbery, etc. They certainly did not expect a resurrection! They came for a dead body, nothing more. 

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.

  1. Once there, they found something strange: the “stone rolled away,” – it was moved! To us, this is spectacular; for them it would have been strange and ominous. We look at the rolled away stone as a sign of the empty tomb, just as they would eventually, but not yet. When they first arrived, this was the equivalent of seeing a grave dug up. Something had happened, and their initial thoughts would not have been good.
  2. That only continued as they went inside the tomb, because just as they found the stone removed, they also did not find something: the body of Jesus! With all of their trepidation, they entered the tomb and discovered Jesus’ body was not where it was supposed to be.
  3. Thank goodness the biblical account continues, but stop right there for a minute – try to imagine what it would have been like to be standing there with the women at that split second. Already, your world had crumbled with the death of Jesus. This was the Man you truly believed to be the Messiah. You had seen Him perform incredible miracles, with no other explanation than Him having the power of God. You’ve heard Him teach with authority unlike any other in the nation, having far more insight to the Scriptures than the most learned of priests, rabbis, and scribes. You’ve spent time with Him and experienced love, mercy, compassion, and holiness to such an extent that you knew you were experiencing it from the very source of love, mercy, compassion, and holiness. There was no doubt in your mind that Jesus was the Messiah, the fulfillment of all the promises to Israel. And then there were the last several days…everything seemed to fall apart. Jesus was betrayed, rejected, crucified, dead, and buried. All your hopes had been pinned on Him, and all of a sudden, He’s gone. The only thing left for you was the process of your grieving…and now that’s gone too! When you woke up Sunday morning, you couldn’t imagine your life getting worse, and somehow it did. What do you do? What hope do you have? Answer: outside of a resurrected Jesus, there is none. If we have no Messiah – if we have no Incarnate God in the person of Jesus Christ, we have nothing. Without Jesus, we have no access to God. We cannot turn to the law for hope, because the law points out our hopelessness. We cannot turn to good works, because we have none. We need a living Jesus. A dead Jesus does nothing for us, because a dead Jesus cannot save. Only a living Jesus offers hope – only a living Jesus offers salvation. That was the news these women needed to hear; they just didn’t know it yet.
    1. This is the same message so many other people need to hear – even if they don’t yet know they need it. What hope do any of us have apart from a resurrected, living Jesus? Science can tell us about our universe (at least in part), but science cannot save. Medicine can heal some wounds and at least delay death, but it cannot abolish it. Money can purchase power and influence, but it cannot purchase eternity. Apart from a living Jesus (i.e. a resurrected incarnate Son of God who has satisfied the wrath of God on your account), we have nothing. Whatever else it is upon which you’re depending to save you, if it’s not Jesus, it’s worthless. Jesus is the only hope you have.
  • Hearing of Jesus (4-8)

4 And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments.

  1. They were confused. To say that “they were greatly perplexed about this,” is a masterful understatement. They were downright bewildered…and rightly so. When they left the tomb on Friday twilight, it was full – it was occupied. Now it was empty. The women had come to the grave looking for/expecting a body, and there was no body to be found.
  2. Keep in mind this is no minor detail! The empty tomb of Jesus cannot be easily dismissed. There must be an explanation. It was a verified fact that Jesus had indeed died, and there were multiple witnesses who saw His body in the tomb. Prominent council members had charge over it, and Pilate had given personal permission for them to take it. According to Matthew’s gospel, there was even a contingent of Roman soldiers guarding against grave robbers, having sealed the entrance with the official seal of Rome. (Mt 27:65-66) Not that the 11 remaining disciples were in any position for tomb raiding. They were in hiding, fearful that the same Jews who sent Jesus to the cross would soon come for them. – How then, is the empty tomb explained? No other religious leader in the world had an unexplainable empty tomb. This is unique to Jesus, setting Him apart from all the rest.
  3. The explanation would come from the “two men” the women saw, as they witnessed the angels there with them. Once again, there is some variety in the gospel accounts, as Matthew and Mark both mention one, whereas John mentions none at this time while recording a slightly later appearance. Still, there is no contradiction. To write of one angel does not forbid the presence of a second, and it’s not unusual at all for John to leave out some details covered by the Synoptic writers while covering different details altogether. ‘Differences’ do not equal ‘Contradictions,’ especially when they’re easily reconciled.
  4. The whole point is that these men/angels were present. In all likelihood, they were there the entire time, only now noticed by the women. Once they were seen, they were probably all the women could see! Technically, Luke never specifies the beings as “angels,” writing only that they were men in gleaming/shining/dazzling clothing. This is not unusual, and Luke does the same thing in the book of Acts when he writes of Jesus’ ascension. That these men were angels is clear in Matthew, for it was an angel who rolled away the stone in order that the witnesses could look inside.
    1. FYI: The Bible never describes angels in the same way as our popular culture. Angels are not babies – they are not described as having wings (though cherubim and seraphim are) – they are not souls of dead humans. They have the appearance of men, almost always shining with the glory of God. Most importantly, angels don’t call attention to themselves. They are simply messengers (which is literally the meaning of the Greek word) – they point back to God.

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?

  1. The women “were afraid,” and no wonder why! They would have already been crushed by the sight of the empty tomb, confused & not knowing what to think. Now they’re in the presence of angels, beings who had power to wipe out entire armies over night. People sometimes think they’d want to see an angel…if they ever did, they might quickly change their minds!
  2. They were reverent, and “bowed their faces to the earth.” Although this could have easily been interpreted as an act of worship, the angels seemingly didn’t see it that way. The apostle John was corrected by an angel for inadvertently worshipping the angel while John was in the process of receiving the Revelation of Jesus (Rev 19:10, 22:9). Here, no correction is given – it would seem the women bowed in reverence & respect, though not outright worship. They showed deference to heavenly power & authority, while reserving their worship & adoration for God alone. (Good example for us!)
  3. As the women bowed, they were asked a poignant question: “Why do you seek the living among the dead?” For us, knowing of Jesus’ resurrection, the question is wonderful – it’s a not-so-subtle clue that Jesus is no longer dead. For the women at that moment, it probably added to their confusion. After all, they thought they had every reason to expect Jesus to be dead. You go to graveyards to pay your respect to the buried. That’s what Jesus was, so that’s why they were there…right? How wonderful for them to be so wrong! Thankfully, the angels didn’t leave the women on the hook for too long, and they quickly explained the good news.
    1. Before we get there, consider how many Christians do something similar as the women at the tomb, only with the opposite result. They professed Jesus to be dead, not knowing He was alive. We so often profess Jesus to be alive, but act as if He’s dead. Our prayers are based more in complaints than any real hope of Jesus’ acting upon them. Our worship seeks after emotional highs for ourselves, rather than offering the praise of our lips to the King of the Universe. Obviously, that’s not all of us all the time – but how often is it all of us some of the time? Our Lord Jesus is alive! He is not among the dead – He lives! He is active, and powerful, and merciful, and loving, and offers life and salvation to the lost, and power and abundant joy to the saved. Pray to Him as being alive – worship Him as the Living God, for so He is!
  4. That was the message of the angels to the women…

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.’ ”

  1. They were told, and what they were told was wonderful! The women had not been mistaken; Jesus had been there in the tomb. It’s just that He was there no longer. He was “risen,” having risen not only from lying down on the stone slab in the tomb, but from death itself. Jesus was just as alive as any of them – in fact, more so, being that He was experiencing the glorified resurrected life that one day all of us will receive.
  2. It was wonderful, and it was a surprise – but it shouldn’t have been. The women were told that they had been Jesus told all of them to expect this! Jesus prophesied of His death on at least three different occasions, and every single prophecy had something in common: Luke 9:22, “saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.”” … Luke 13:32, “And He said to them, “Go, tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.’” … Luke 18:32–33, “(32) For He will be delivered to the Gentiles and will be mocked and insulted and spit upon. (33) They will scourge Him and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again.”” Notice a common thread? After death, comes resurrection. Jesus repeatedly prepared His disciples for not only His death, but His resurrection from the grave. If the women (and the disciples) were surprised, it’s wasn’t because they hadn’t been told. It’s because they hadn’t believed.
  3. Question: This was all a surprise the disciples, but was their surprise a surprise to Jesus? Of course not. He knew full & well they had neither understood His prophecies, or believed Him when He spoke of such things. He had long known they were people of “little faith,” (Mt 16:8) but that did not stop Him from teaching them. He knew they didn’t believe at the time, but He also knew that it would make perfect sense later. They would be able to look back on all of those previous prophecies (both the ones recorded for us in the Scripture, and those that weren’t), and it would confirm their faith. That’s exactly what happened with the women…

8 And they remembered His words.

  1. They “remembered.” All of those times Jesus had spoken of the things concerning His crucifixion and resurrection came rushing back to their minds at once. Throughout His ministry, from the time they were all in Galilee until their pilgrimage to Jerusalem for Passover, Jesus had steadfastly prepared them, and for the first time they were able to think back on His words, not through a heart of confusion, but a mind of clarity.
  2. Have you ever had the experience where you weren’t sure what was going on at the time, but once something happens, everything else makes sense? All of sudden, you can look back & see exactly how everything fit together (usually pointing us to the sovereignty of God). That’s what happened at that moment with the women. Years of teaching from Jesus suddenly became crystal clear. They saw Him at the heart of the gospel He preached because His resurrection demonstrated the fulfillment of it. All of the parables that had seemed so mysterious at the time now made sense. Jesus was alive, being resurrected from the dead, and that made all of the difference in the world!
    1. For some of us, we have a similar experience the moment that we first come to faith in Christ. We may have heard about Him for years – perhaps we even investigated a bit of the Bible, trying to read it for ourselves. But it didn’t make sense, or we lost interest, or life just got in the way. But then we had a moment of clarity – we had a struck-by-lightning experience when all of a sudden we knew Jesus was real, that He was really God, really died for our sins, and really rose from the grave – and that’s when we surrendered our lives to Him. All of sudden, things made sense. It’s not that we never had any questions about the Scripture, or that there wasn’t a need to learn – but when it came to what was most important, we had clarity about God, His love, His Son, and His salvation.
    2. Have you had that moment of clarity? If not, why? Seek Him!! See how He is the fulfillment of all the Scripture has spoken, and believe!
  • Telling of Jesus (9-12)

9 Then they returned from the tomb and told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest.

  1. Luke is so restrained in his description! Matthew puts it plainly, that “they went out quickly…and ran” to tell the disciples. (Mt 28:8) You bet they ran! They wouldn’t have been able to walk if they tried! Not that they completely understood everything at the moment – John tells us of some of the remaining confusion of Mary Magdalene, and Mark tells how they were still afraid to speak to anyone else along the way. Even so, something wonderful had happened, and they couldn’t wait to tell the rest. They couldn’t not tell the rest. Not only had they been commanded to go tell the disciples (Mt 28, Mk 16), but the news was too good to keep to themselves. They had to find “the eleven” (Judas gone) as soon as possible, and tell them & all the other believers who were with them.
  2. Please don’t miss this. This is the Great Commission in action before the Great Commission was given. This is the first act of post-resurrection evangelism in church history. The news of Jesus is too good to keep to ourselves. To remain silent about the resurrected Savior is downright sinful & selfish. If we’ve been saved, how could we not tell others how to be saved? If we know of Jesus’ resurrection (of His power & victory), how can we remain silent? It is reported that the night of the infamous sinking of the Titanic that there were lifeboats that had been launched partly-full, sometimes in order to keep the various economic classes separated. Some lived, while others died…others who could have been saved, if those who lived simply acted. Beloved, as gently as possible, I say that Christians who refuse to testify of Jesus are like those in half-full lifeboats. (And I am as guilty as anyone.) This news is far too good to keep to ourselves. There is someone in your life who needs to hear – there is someone you know with whom you have influence. Don’t waste your opportunity! Tell them.

10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them, who told these things to the apostles. 11 And their words seemed to them like idle tales, and they did not believe them.

  1. The fact that women were the first to testify of the empty tomb is something that is prominently reported in all four gospels. It’s given such a place of prominence, that several of them are named. As we’ve mentioned in the past, this is highly unusual, and strongly argues for the historicity of the events. The testimony of women was often taken lightly, or altogether unbelieved (as was the case that day among the disciples!). It was unheard of to believe a woman over a man, because women (according to the culture of the day) simply couldn’t be trusted. That being the case, why would any religious group rely on the testimony of women? If a religious group breaking away from Judaism wanted to be believed, the very last thing they would promote would be the initial testimony of women. There was zero reason to do it…unless it were true. The only reason it would be reported would be that there was no other way to speak the truth without including all of the facts, and that’s exactly the way it was. We read of the testimony of the women because it is the historical fact that they were the first to Jesus’ tomb, and they were the ones to discover it empty.
    1. How wonderful is the graciousness and sovereignty of God! These women were the only ones who had been faithful to Jesus throughout His sufferings, and God accorded them the highest of honors by not only making them the first witnesses, but ensuring that their testimony had to be recorded! Not only were they to be believed, but they were to be honored!
  2. Of course sadly, they weren’t believed – not at first. Initially, the eleven male apostles of Jesus (themselves being products of their time and culture) dismissed the women as being hysterical & delusional. The stories they spoke “seemed to them like idle tales,” being too good to be true. Surely, the women were imagining things in their grief – there’s no way their testimony could be true. How wrong they were!
    1. Have you ever felt discouraged when someone didn’t believe your testimony about Jesus? You have good company! Even the initial disciples disbelieved the women. Mary & the others had all the facts about Jesus – they had a heavenly authentication of Jesus’ resurrection – they had seen the empty tomb with their own eyes, having a personal experience of His rising…yet they were still disbelieved. We’ve been there. We know the facts of the gospel – we have authentication of the gospel via Jesus’ resurrection – we have our own personal experience through our personal testimony…yet sometimes people still disbelieve. That’s on them; not you. Don’t let their lack of faith stop you from sharing yours. They may or may not come around in time, but we still have the responsibility of telling them. The women had been obedient, and that’s all that was asked of them.
    2. Maybe you’re one who has disbelieved the testimonies delivered to you. What’s keeping you from faith? What’s stopping you from believing? Investigate it for yourself – that’s what Peter did…

12 But Peter arose and ran to the tomb; and stooping down, he saw the linen cloths lying by themselves; and he departed, marveling to himself at what had happened.

  1. Interestingly, this is the 1st mention of Peter since his denial of Jesus. Once Peter denied his Lord three times, he fell into hiding and obscurity with the rest. He had failed massively, and it seems that he hid his face for three days. Yet at the mere possibility of Jesus being risen, he sprints to the tomb to see for himself.
    1. It says something about his denial. When Jesus was on trial, Peter failed, but Peter hadn’t fallen away into apostasy. There’s no question Peter sinned and crumbled; but he never gave up his love for Jesus. All of us fail at times, but it doesn’t mean we’ve stopped being Christians. When you fail, confess – seek Jesus’ forgiveness…then receive it & rejoice!
    2. It says something about his faith. Peter always seemed a bit more eager than the others to act on the possibility of Jesus’ identity as God. Peter was the one to walk on water – Peter was the one to confess Jesus as the Christ. And Peter was the one to run to the tomb. The Bible tells us that John went as well, but initially it seems to have just been the two. Peter may not have fully believed the women, but he knew enough of Jesus to know that if anyone could rise from the dead, it was Jesus. He had to see it for himself.
  2. And he did. Peter verified the testimony of the women, seeing the tomb empty of everything except the graveclothes of Jesus. He did not yet see Jesus, but he saw evidence of Jesus’ rising, and Peter marveled. He was astonished, amazed, and in wonder of what he witnessed.
    1. The resurrection of Jesus is a marvel. The resurrection changes everything!

Conclusion:

Of all that Luke wrote in his opening account of the resurrection, do you notice the one person not present? Jesus. All four gospel accounts are alike in this. The one Person not initially at that gravesite is the Lord Jesus. And why should He be there? He’d been there the past three days…He deserved a break! All of this emphasizes His absence. He wasn’t in the tomb; He wasn’t even in the vicinity! Jesus is risen from the dead, and there’s no reason that a Living Lord would be hanging out among gravestones.

Who was there? The women, and the angels: the seekers, and the messengers. The seekers themselves became messengers, and their message caused someone else (Peter) to seek, and he too learned the truth. He too, became a messenger, telling not only the other ten disciples, but all the Jerusalem crowds on the day of Pentecost.

And the cycle progresses from there. Those who seek, are told. Those who are told believe, and they in turn tell others who are seeking. And on, and on.

At least, that’s how it’s supposed to go. Too often, it seems that those who seek are told & they believe, but it stops there. They don’t go on to tell others. That throws a wrench into things – that isn’t the way it’s supposed to go. According to the Great Commission, disciples are supposed to make other disciples. It might even be said that disciples are supposed to make disciple-makers, in order that the cycle would continue according to God’s plan. Those who believe the gospel of Jesus are supposed to tell others, that they might believe, and so forth.

Where are you in the process? Perhaps you’ve been told, and you believe, but you haven’t yet passed along the news to someone else. Or maybe you’ve believed, and told others. Praise God! But don’t stop with one. As long as you have neighbors, then you have people who need to hear of Jesus. 

Or maybe you’re still in the seeking phase. Seeking is good! Just be sure you seek in true, honest faith. Those who do, find. Hebrews 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

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