The Reading: Matthew 28:1-15
“Come, see the place where he lay.” (v. 6) RSV
Belief in the resurrection from the grave is not make-believe, nor is it fantasy or even mythology. Belief is based on the evidence of eye witnesses. The empty tomb was one of the key pieces of evidence. First the women saw it (v. 1), but when they reported it to the men they didn’t believe them! However, Peter and John went to see for themselves. Peter surveyed the empty tomb and studied the grave clothes, but scratched his head, perplexed. But when John went in, he saw and believed, even though he (and Peter) did not yet know the scripture that Jesus “must rise from the dead” (John 20:9).
The disciples did not make up an elaborate story about resurrection, since they were not looking for it or expecting it. However, the word had got around that Jesus had forecast that such a thing would happen; that is why they placed a guard in front of the tomb (Matthew 27:62-66). This very guard turned out to be even further proof that Jesus’ body was not stolen, but had actually disappeared.
Disappointed disciples needed some convincing that the very real death of Jesus that they had witnessed was not the end. Jesus had to disappear and then re-materialise in solid form. He ate before them and let them touch him. He said, “Handle me, and see; for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see that I have” (Luke. 24:39).
The early faith, and our faith too, is based on the factual and historical miracle of the resurrection of Jesus. We have that eye witness account recorded for us in the Bible. We too will one day undergo the same transformation, “in the twinkling of an eye” (1 Corinthians 15:52). Praise God!
What a wonderful faith you have given, Lord! How amazing it is, beyond my imagining! Help me to be assured and strengthened so that I may be confident in my faith. Amen.
1. What sort of evidence does John speak of?
1 John 1:1
2. Who found it hard to believe in the resurrection?