Reflections for Easter Day
Gospel of John, Chapter 20 verses 1 – 10
An eyewitness account?
The Empty Tomb
20 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. 2 So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”
3 So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first.5 He bent over and saw the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7 as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. 8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. 9 (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) 10 Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.
Sometimes in the Bible the description of an event can be so vivid that it could only have been written or recorded by an eyewitness! Here in the record of that first Easter Day we have such an account!
The reaction of Mary Magdalene is absolutely natural.
Early morning before sunrise. The burial ground silent. A small group of women coming with spices to embalm the body of their loved one. Concern that the covering stone may be too heavy for them to move. (Mark 16 verses 1 – 3). They found the stone removed and the body of Jesus gone!
Mary (the youngest of the women?) runs to tell the disciples. Peter and John set off for the tomb. “Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter”. John, being younger than Peter got to the tomb first. Stoops to look in and catches a glimpse of the grave clothes lying there. Peter, following him and being the impetuous Peter, charges straight in! He regarded the grave clothes and wondered what it meant.
John, following Peter into the tomb, saw the grave clothes and believed! He saw the reality of what had happened.
In this passage the word “saw” translates three different Greek words.
Verse 5 - “he saw the strips of linen lying there” is “blepei” - literally “to have sight of”.
Verse 6 - “he saw the strips of linen lying there” uses “theorei” - meaning “to perceive / discern”. Peter was working it out like a theorem!
Verse 8 – Then the other disciple who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and “he saw and believed.” Here the word “saw” is translated from the Greek root “horao” meaning “to see with the mind”.
The eyewitness should encourage us to read more of John's account of that first Easter Day. Our Lord Jesus appearing to Mary in the garden. The appearance of Jesus through the locked and barred doors of the upper room, and His words of peace and commissioning.
At this Easter time, maybe you have only caught a glimpse of the reality of the Resurrection. Maybe you are still wondering about it. Maybe you have seen and believed!
In the Christian life there is always the opportunity to move on and go further in our belief.
May you know the presence of the risen Lord Jesus Christ in your daily life.
There in the ground His body lay,
From the song “In Christ alone, my hope is found” by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend. Copyright © 2002
Light of the world by darkness slain;
Then bursting forth in glorious day,
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory,
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine—
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.
Alleluia, Christ is risen! He is risen indeed, Alleluia!