Note: Today’s reading is Mark 16. Tomorrow we move to Galatians!
Can you imagine this scene? It’s Sunday morning. Jesus had been put in the grave three days ago. A few women go to the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body. A body that had not had a heart beat since Friday. As they walk, they begin to ask each other, “How are we going to roll that big heavy stone that covers the entrance out of the way to even get to Jesus’ body? (v.3)”
The finally get where they can see the tomb, and the stone is already rolled away. Not only that, Jesus’ body is gone. Can you imagine the swirl of emotions? And then to hear these words from a strange man in the tomb:
“6 And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here.”
– Mark 16:6a
The hope and the wonder of those words! That Sunday morning Jesus was not in the tomb! And this morning Jesus is not in the tomb. He sits on the throne. Living and active, the victor over sin and death.
The Apostle Paul says this about the resurrection:
“And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. 20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead.”
– 1 Corinthians 15:17–20a ESV
If Jesus was still in the tomb, then he was just another person in history who made big promises, even made some waves, and then died. But Jesus rose from the dead, and that changes everything! We do have hope after this life! Because our King defeated death.
In 1 Corinthians 15:19, Paul says that if we have hope in this life only, then people should feel really sorry for us. Why is that? Because people who have encountered the resurrected Jesus through faith live for another life. We live for the day we will see him face to face. We live for his coming kingdom. If this life is all there is then we should pursue the pleasures of the world to their fullest. But since there is a coming kingdom, we chase the King with all we are.
Jesus not only paid the sacrifice for our sins, he rose victorious over the power of sin and death. Live in that freedom today. The freedom to lay aside the weight of sin by the power of the resurrection. The freedom to live for the eternal and not the vain pursuits of the life. And when today’s trials come, remember that we are living in a broken world, that is being redeemed by Jesus. He alone conquered the grave, and through the cross he invites us to hope in his future kingdom.