The Miracle of the Empty Tomb
Jesus was crucified, but that was not the end of the story. John’s historic gospel account continues – “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.’ Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple, and were going to the tomb. So they both ran together, and the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first. And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there, and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen clothes, but folded together in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed. For as yet they did not know the Scripture that He must rise again from the dead. Then the disciples went away again to their own homes.” (John 20: 1-10)
Jesus’ resurrection was prophesied about in the Psalms – “I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; my flesh also will rest in hope. For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.” (Psalm 16: 8-10) Jesus did not see corruption, He was resurrected. “O Lord, You brought my soul up from the grave; You have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.” (Psalm 30:3) Jesus was raised to life from the tomb where He was laid.
No doubt if you study the lives of religious leaders through the ages, for most of them you will find a burial location. Their grave often becomes a place for their followers to visit. This is not the case with Jesus of Nazareth. He does not have a grave that we can visit.
Consider this quote about the empty tomb From Josh McDowell’s book, Evidence for Christianity, “If ever a fact of ancient history may count as indisputable, it should be the empty tomb. From Easter Sunday on there must have been a tomb, clearly known as the tomb of Jesus, that did not contain His body. This much is beyond dispute: Christian teaching from the very beginning promoted a living, resurrected Savior. The Jewish authorities strongly opposed this teaching and were prepared to go to any lengths in order to suppress it. Their job would have been easy if they could have invited potential converts for a quick stroll to the tomb and there produced Christ’s body. That would have been the end of the Christian message. The fact that a church centering around the risen Christ could come about demonstrates that there must have been an empty tomb.” (McDowell 297)
In transitioning from Mormonism to Christianity, I had to seriously consider if I believed the Bible to be a historical book. I believe it is. I believe it gives evidence of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. I believe God has left a solid case for Himself. If you have not considered the Bible this way, I would encourage you to do so. What an incredible reality that Jesus’ tomb is empty!
McDowell, Josh. Evidence for Christianity. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2006.