John 20:1-9

In John 20:1-9 Jesus has been crucified and laid in a tomb.  It is early, and Mary goes to the tomb to check on the body. “Early in the morning on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone was moved away from the entrance.” Other gospels tell she was not the only woman to come to the tomb that morning. At least three other women accompanied her. But Mary was the one who ran back and told the disciples about the empty tomb. “She ran at once to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, breathlessly panting, “They took the Master from the tomb. We don’t know where they’ve put him.”

There is confusion as the body is gone.  Mary wasn’t wishing for a resurrection, and then hopefully imagined it. She had no thought of resurrection yet, and believed the body has been stolen. “Peter and the other disciple left immediately for the tomb. They ran, neck and neck. The other disciple got to the tomb first, outrunning Peter. Stooping to look in, he saw the pieces of linen cloth lying there, but he didn’t go in.” Peter and John, who calls himself ‘the other disciple’ take off running to the tomb.  John is faster and gets there first.  He peers in from the outside and sees the grave clothes laying there, but no body.

Peter finally gets there a bit behind John, and true to his nature, he heads right into the tomb.  “Simon Peter arrived after him, entered the tomb, observed the linen cloths lying there, and the kerchief used to cover his head not lying with the linen cloths but separate, neatly folded by itself.” He tinds that the cloths were still orderly and neat. I was as if the body “evaporated” out of the grave clothes. The neat, orderly arrangement of the grave clothes showed that this was no grave robbery and that something absolutely unique had happened in that now-empty tomb. Jesus didn’t rise and fight with the cloths He had been wrapped in.  God merely brought Him to life and left the clothes behind to show it happened.

John then decides to enter the tomb too.  “Then the other disciple, the one who had gotten there first, went into the tomb, took one look at the evidence, and believed.” Upon seeing the grave clothes and how they lay on the “bed” of the tomb, John believed that Mary’s report was true, and that something awesome and incredibly unique had happened. But so far, all we have is an empty tomb. Jesus is not where He had been placed a few days earlier. The apostles never emphasized an empty tomb, but a risen Lord. They knew Jesus had risen because they saw and touched the resurrected Christ.

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