1 Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. 2 So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” 3 So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. 4 Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, 7 and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. 8 Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; 9 for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went back to their homes.
The most wonderful picture in all of scripture: Jesus is victorious over death!
Since there was no time to properly prepare the body of Jesus, at the first of the week, Mary Magdalene and other women came to the tomb to properly embalm Jesus.
Though the Bible does not systematically describe Hebrew burial practice, several features can be gleaned from individual passages. Joseph closed his father’s eyelids soon after Jacob’s death (Genesis 46:4). Jesus’ body was prepared for burial by anointing it with aromatic oils and spices and wrapping it in a linen cloth (Mark 16:1; Luke 24:1; John 19:39). The arms and legs of Lazarus’ body were bound with cloth, and the face covered by a napkin (handkerchief, or towel used for binding the face of a corpse) (John 11:44). The body of Tabitha was washed in preparation for burial (Acts 9:37). Putting them all together may give a picture of the Hebrew method of preparing bodies for burial.
Mary had been devoted to Jesus during life, during death on the cross, and was devoted even at the grave. The tomb had a large rock that had been placed over the entrance, had been sealed under the authority of the Roman governor Pontius Pilate, and had a guard placed there to keep religious fanatics from stealing the body and declaring He had risen.
When they arrived, though, the rock had been rolled away. They ran to Simon Peter (the beloved) and told him someone had stolen the body of Jesus. As they ran towards the tomb, John the beloved outran Peter and looked inside, but did not go in. Peter went into the tomb, and saw the linen cloths lying there - but no body. Could you imagine going to the cemetery where a loved one was buried and seeing an empty grave? What would be the first thought through our minds? One is WHY? The second may be HOW? And then…WHO? I am sure all those there questions were going through their minds as they wondered who may have stolen the body.
Standing outside while Peter was inside the tomb, John’s mind was apparently whirling, pondering, wondering, and thinking. Then suddenly it dawned upon him: the linen clothes were lying undisturbed. The Greek word wrapped together (entetuligmenon) is the verb which is used for actually winding the linens around a body for burial. The Greek word is saying that the linens were “still in their fold,” wrapped just like they would be wrapped around a body—as if the body had just evaporated. They were not disheveled or disarranged.
This showed that it was impossible for the body to have been removed with the bindings still wound. If someone had tried to take the body in haste, they would have taken the wrappings. If they had unbound the body, chances are it would have been done with speed, not with care. And last, the bindings would not have been placed in the exact spot where the body was placed. Yet, they were in perfect order, in the same place, just EMPTY.
And they believed. Not because of all the evidence, but because of His love for Jesus. By seeing the cloth laying there, John no doubt remembered Jesus’ prophecy that He would resurrect. John saw what happened, and believed.
Isn’t this what God expects of us today? Not that we have to understand all of scripture, not that we can comprehend all the miracles, prophecies, or parables. God simply wants us to believe that He is, and that He rewards us with eternal life for those who believe.
6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
19 We love because he first loved us.
23 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
The bread represents the body of Christ that died on the cross for our sins. He suffered many abuses on the way to the cross. He gave His all on the cross for us all.
The cup represents the blood of Christ that He shed on the cross for our sins. The Bible says in Hebrews 9:22 that without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sin. Christ had to shed His blood for us. It was His blood sacrifice that was needed to save the world. His blood was enough for all those who would accept Him as their personal Savior.
Paul tells us that celebrating with these elements reminds Christians of the sacrifice Christ made for each of us. Let us take this time to honor the incredible sacrifice Jesus made for us, as believers.
“Blessed be the Ties That Bind”