How to write a brief devotion on the empty tomb…a story that encompasses all other stories, the moment that would radically change all others, the realization that as defeat seems inescapable a resounding and the ultimate note of victory rings out. Christ is not dead. Our hope is not gone. The promise is not broken. The tomb really is empty.
Such a simple statement so profoundly reorients all of existence. So earth-shattering, that disciples ran (some more quickly than others) to discover what seems too good to be true. Mary’s tears of sorrow turning to a message of hope as she becomes the first to tell others of our risen Lord.
I love to emphasize the visceral reactions the Disciples had because it is so telling to me how little they realized yet how patient God is with His children. Christ is present with those who wait on Him like Mary. Christ is appears in peace to those who gather together desperate for Him like the disciples. Like Thomas, Christ is patient with those in doubt and uncertainty.
All of this, to what end? Read again in the 31st verse of the 20th chapter: so that we may have life in His name. So that we might not wait in sorrow, cower in fear, or doubt in vain. Instead we get to go forth in confidence and power that the Gospel is true. Christ is risen. Hope and life can be found in Him.
“God, I pray that as we approach the resolution to the Gospel according to John, we might revel in the incredible truth that Jesus really is alive. Help us be so eager to see and believe that like the disciples. Help us be messengers of your hope like Mary. Help us pursue this life in Your name.”
In this reading through of the Gospel, specifically the Easter story and resurrection morning, is there any new part that has stood out?
How do the different reactions the disciples had to the news of Jesus compare to how you handle shocking or surprising news? Do you like surprises? Are you easily overwhelmed?
The tomb is empty of Jesus, but full of hope for us! If Jesus has power of His own death, what does that mean for our own life?
Mary got to be the first person to tell others that Jesus is alive! Is our message today any different?
Thomas gets a bad reputation for doubting the disciples’ testimony. How do you think Jesus felt when Thomas said he would only believe if he could touch Jesus’ scars?