Today is Good Friday, and I will be off to a Tenebrae service this evening. A friend of mine invited me again this year, and asked if I would read a passage for the service. I’m looking forward to an evening of quiet reflection on the significance of this day.
Good Friday is the day we remember Jesus’ death on the cross and what it means for us as believers. God required a propitiation for sin. That could only be achieved through the shedding of innocent blood – historically that was why the Hebrews sacrificed spotless lambs before God. But that wasn’t enough, so God in his infinite Love and Mercy provided a way to make it so that our debts could be paid. Jesus.
He suffered and died for our sakes. That we might have life eternal. Sometimes I still can’t put my head around it, but God has increased my faith that I might believe it even though the enormity of it still boggles my mind.
But His death is not the end of this story, because on the third day, there was an empty tomb.
I had been thinking about that a lot this week. What’s so important about the empty tomb? I mean, Jesus could have be resurrected and left the stone closed over the tomb, right? But would people still have believed?
I think the event of finding the empty tomb is so critical to our understanding of the resurrection, and for the people of that time it was necessary for them to accept Jesus as the King.
Lee Stroble wrote a bunch of those “Case for” books, and my husband just happened to have the one about Easter. I dug it out, surprised by the thinness, and dove into the investigation of the Resurrection. I was also surprised that one chapter was devoted entirely to the empty tomb. The Case for Easter is a short and easy read -one you might consider reading if you want some greater background knowledge regarding the resurrection.
At the end of the chapter where Stroble interviews William Lane Craig, Ph.D, D.Th there is this question that got me thinking:
Read Mark 15:42-16:8, the earliest account of Jesus’ burial and empty tomb. Do you agree with Craig that it is “stark in its simplicity and unadorned by theological reflection”? Why or why not?
So I went back and thought about this some more. Stark. Simplistic. Unadorned. Things that stood out to me were these:
* Jesus died quickly, and it was something Pilate marveled over.
* Joseph of Arimathea wrapped Jesus’ body and laid him in the tomb.
* The stone was rolled into place.
* Women came with the intent of anointing Him.
* The women found Jesus gone and were amazed.
I do agree that this passage is simple and to the point. It seems to capture the events that happened without much commentary. If this is the earliest gospel written, it seems that it simply captured what happened so that people could know. And it is easy to understand. There is nothing here that we can really question about deeper meanings, or what ifs….
It’s simple. Jesus died. He was buried. And then his tomb was empty. No one seems to disagree that the tomb was empty. And it happened to clearly illustrate to us that God is greater… that he was no longer confined by death! It is the reason we celebrate Easter – the Empty Tomb and the Resurrection of Jesus is symbolizes.
Have a Happy Easter everyone!