He is risen; He is not here; behold, here is the place where they laid Him. – Vs 6
He is risen. He is not here. Jesus was not where they expected Him to be. Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome had come to the tomb expecting to find a body. A dead body. Their earlier expectations of Jesus being the long-awaited Messiah, had been replaced with much lower expectations. As they made their way to the tomb, they carried spices used for anointing the dead. Their hopes had ceased with Jesus' final breath on the cross. Now as they walked together their only concern was about who was going to help them roll away the stone from the entrance so they could anoint the body. What a sad scene. How demoralized these three women must have been. But they weren't alone. The rest of the disciples felt the same way. All was lost. Their Savior was dead. Their dreams were dashed. Their hopes for salvation were lying in a cave carved into a rocky hillside. Or were they?
Here is the place where they laid Him.
Much to their surprise, astonishment and shock, the tomb was empty. The very stone they had been talking about as they walked to the tomb was rolled aside. The body they had come to anoint was gone. All that was left were the burial clothes and an angel. He tells them to look at the place where Jesus body had been. He wants them to see that it is empty. There is nothing there. No body. No death. No defeat. The tomb is empty. Just as their fears had been. They had come expecting to find a dead body. They "fled from the tomb" in a state of shock, fear, and disbelief. They had come crying. They left running. They had come defeated. They left excited. They had come demoralized. They left energized. Their emotions of sadness and sorrow had been replaced with amazement, astonishment, trembling, and fear. The tomb was empty.
But go, tell His disciples and Peter!
I think it is interesting that the angel did not allow these three women to sit and linger at the tomb. He didn't allow them to fixate on the place, but instead, he kept them focused on the person. Jesus was going ahead of them. He wasn't in the tomb, but had gone on. The tomb had been their original destination, but the angel redirected them. He gave them a new destination and a new occupation. Rather than anoint, they were to announce. They had a message to share. Go! Tell! Spread the news! Jesus was alive!
As we wrap up the book of Mark, I am reminded how easy it is for me to lower my expectations when it comes to Jesus. Sure, I know He is risen. I know He sits at the right hand of the Father. I know He is coming back again some day. But I can still be guilty of acting as if the tomb really isn't empty. I can live as though He never really did rise from the dead. I mourn. I doubt. I fear. I question. I live as though my Savior was the victim, instead of victorious. Or I fixate on the empty tomb. I recognize that He is alive. I get amazed at the fact that He is alive and the tomb is empty. I worship His victory, but I still live in defeat. Like these three women, if left to my own devices, I would sit in the empty tomb and stare at "the place where they laid Him." But in doing so, I would accomplish nothing. I would miss out on the excitement of seeing Him, of experiencing Him. The women were instructed to go and tell. They had a job to do. They were told that if they did as they were instructed, they would see Him. They would see the resurrected Lord with their own eyes. Which is a whole lot better than looking at where He used to be. An empty tomb can't compare to a risen Savior.
So are you going and telling? And as you do, are you expecting to run into the risen Savior Himself? Have you seen Him? Has He confirmed for you that the tomb really is empty? Are you experiencing Him daily? Is He revealing Himself to you regularly? That is what He wants to do. He wants us to go, to tell, and to see. He wants us to share from our experience. He wants to prove to us that He is risen, by showing Himself alive and well in our lives and our circumstances. Has He done that for you? He wants to.
Father, Your Son is alive and well. He is risen. But how often I live as though the tomb is NOT empty. I live as though My Savior does not live. I doubt. I fear. I live in defeat. I fail to see Jesus as living and active in my life. I fail to recognize His presence around Me. Help me to see that the tomb is empty. Help me be obedient to go and tell. Then allow me to see Him every day of my life in the experiences of my life. Amen