The Empty Tomb

Today's Bible reading: John 20:1-18

Yet the stories of the empty tomb are a vital first stage in the Easter miracle.  Interestingly, it is the women who are the first witnesses of the empty sepulcher with the stone rolled back.  They don’t actually see the resurrection – (no human did!) - they see its results.  Nor would their witness have counted for much back in Jewish society at the time, since women were not able to give evidence in a court of law.

St. Matthew goes to some pains to share with us the fact that the Jewish authorities had - with Pilate’s permission - posted a guard in front of the tomb, to nip in the bud any possible claim that Jesus had come back to life.  Interestingly, it is these guards - and not Jesus closest followers - who are present when the stone is rolled away.  It is they and the Jewish leaders who are finally guilty of fraud: the soldiers are paid to spread the rumor that the body was stolen.  St. John’s Gospel adds a detail that argues against any idea that Jesus body was snatched up quickly by grave robbers: the burial cloths were neatly laid.

Prayer: Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe.  In love You have given Your Son, Jesus Christ, into death for us and raised Him to life again; so raise us from the death of sin by Your life-giving Spirit; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.