Come See the Place
He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. Matthew 28:6
I enjoy reading each Gospel account of the resurrection of Jesus. The details and perspective of each Gospel book add insight to this amazing and eternity changing event. The greatest event in world history is the resurrection of Christ. People may debate about the greatest occurrence, the birth of Christ, or His resurrection. One without the other would be meaningless. Both are required and are of utmost importance for the true story of Christ to be told. Jesus was born to die.
As the women walked to the tomb early that morning, they were prepared to see His dead body. They brought spices to anoint His body after the traditional custom of the Hebrews. In the quickness of the mock trials and the riot-like execution of Christ, there was no time for a “proper” burial with spices and anointing. We are familiar with the embalming process and use it even today. These ladies were not sure they would even be allowed to perform this process. The Romans soldiers were supposed to be guarding the tomb so that no-one would steal the body of Christ. Would they let them anoint His body? They loved Jesus so much; they were willing to try to anoint His body in a proper way.
When they get to the garden of Joseph of Arimathea, the place is eerily quiet. I wonder if they had felt the earthquake that had occurred earlier in the morning. As they get close to the tomb, they see the stone was already rolled away. What was going on here? Soldiers were lying on the ground as “dead men.” They had fainted at the events from just a few moments earlier. An angel of Heaven rolled the stone away after the earthquake shook the ground. As the troops felt, and saw these things happened they fell down, fainting from shock. Jesus then walks out of the tomb.
As the women gaze in, they here these words from the angel, “He is not here, come see the place where the Lord lay.”
There are at least two investigative type questions we must ask today about the resurrection.
- Was the body of Jesus stolen? John 20:6-7 tells us, “Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.”
When Peter ducked into the empty tomb, he saw the linin wrapping that was wrapped around the dead body of Christ before He was buried. Would someone stealing a body take all the clothes off the body and then carry the body away? Would a thief un-wrap the body of a crucified person that was mutilated beyond recognition, and then touch the body with all the fluids, open wounds, and blood all about? That does not make any sense.
Jesus rose again, left the wrapping in its place, and was clothed with fresh, clean garments. His wounds were healed, yet His hands, feet, and side still showed the scars of the Cross. (John 20:27)
- Did Jesus really die on the Cross? This is known as the swoon theory. The idea is that Jesus did not really die, but “appeared” to be dead. There is great evidence contrary to this notion. In John 19:34 we discover that, “one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.” The pericardium sack around the heart fills with fluid when a man’s body is under intense pressure. The grief and trauma of Jesus taking the sins of the whole world and paying the death penalty for them was a weight too intense for us to even comprehend. All the past, present, and future sins were paid for on the Cross. This payment is effective for you, only if you place your faith in Christ (His work on the Cross and Resurrection), repenting of sin, and asking Christ to save you. Jesus died because of our sin.
As the blood and water gushed from His side, it was clear that He was dead. The idea that a man “near death” could move a 2000 pound stone is ridiculous. Have you or a loved one ever had a surgery in your midsection, belly area or chest? People who have intense wounds or surgery to the middle part of their body are incapacitated for some time. They are not weightlifting within 3 days or even a few weeks. Jesus was totally dead.
Recently, I was blessed to “come see the place” where Jesus was laid in the Garden Tomb. His body was not there. The tomb was empty! Even if I did not see the place with my own two eyes, I can look at the Bible and believe what the eyewitness accounts say. I can believe God the Father who gave us the Bible. I can believe the Holy Spirit who inspired these Truths to be written down.
Have you been able to “see the place” with eyes of faith, believing in the resurrection? Each Sunday we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Do you know Him as your Risen Lord and Savior today?