See the Place Where They Laid Him
The women who witnessed the death and burial of Jesus knew that His body was prepared for the tomb in a hurry. They thought the job wasn’t quite finished, so they looked for the earliest opportunity to complete the work of honoring the body of Jesus.
The names of the women who came to the tomb reads like an honor roll. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary they mother of James, and Salome. These women proved themselves to be the most devoted followers of Jesus, and they alone came to the tomb that Sunday morning. They brought spices with them, which were used to cover the smell of a decomposing body.
So, when the Sabbath day was over and as soon as it was light, these dear devoted women hurried to the tomb of Jesus to finish what Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus started. Here is a description of what they saw when they came to the tomb, taken from Mark 16:5-6:
And entering the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a long white robe sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him.”
The women did not expect to find an empty tomb. They came wondering who would open the tomb for them by rolling away the stone covering the entrance. This shows that the resurrection accounts cannot be the product of wishful thinking; these women did not even expect that it could happen.
They did not find the Roman guards on their watch when they came to the tomb. Instead, they saw that large stone covering the only entrance to the tomb of Jesus had been rolled away, and the Gospel of Matthew tells us that it was an angel that rolled away the stone.
It is good to remember that the stone was not rolled away to let Jesus out. John 20:19 tells us that Jesus, in His resurrection body, could pass through material barriers. It was rolled away so that others could see in and be persuaded that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead.
Looking inside the tomb, the women saw an angel in human form: “a young man clothed in a long white robe sitting.” The angel told them that Jesus was raised from the dead, and he showed them the empty tomb.
The angel described a beautiful contrast. He spoke of the death of Jesus in the past tense – “was crucified,” Then the angel spoke of the resurrection of Jesus in the present tense – that Jesus “is risen.” The angel painted the contrast between what Jesus was and what He is. He was crucified, beyond all doubt – that meant He was dead. Now, He is risen – not only resuscitated, but resurrected.
There are several examples in the Bible of people being resuscitated before this, such as the widow’s son in the days of Elijah and Lazarus. Each of these was resuscitated from death, but none of them were resurrected. They were raised in the same body they died in, and raised from the dead to eventually die again. Resurrection isn’t just living again; it is living again in a new body, based on our old body, but perfectly suited for life in eternity. Jesus was not the first one brought back from the dead, but He was the first one resurrected.
The angel made the point clear when he said to the women, “See the place where they laid Him.” The actual event of Jesus’ resurrection is nowhere described, but the discovery of it is recorded in some detail. Those women were later grateful that the angel told them to “see the place where they laid Him.” It would have – it should have – been enough to merely hear the testimony of the angel. Nevertheless, when they saw it, it gave them ground to stand on even more solid than the testimony of an angel. Through the eyewitness testimony of these women, we also can see this place – the empty tomb of Jesus.
– When we see the place where they laid Him, we see that God the Father did not forsake Jesus.
– When we see the place where they laid Him, we see that death is conquered.
– When we see the place where they laid Him, we see that we have a living friend and Savior in Jesus.
Trusting in their eyewitness testimony we can enjoy the greatness of the fact of the resurrection of Jesus. The tomb is empty; Jesus lives. His resurrection is a fact of history; but His life in you is for you to receive by faith. Receive and be happy today.