Empty Tomb

Very early on Sunday morning, just as the sun was rising, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome went to the tomb where Jesus had been placed, in order to anoint the body with spices, because he had been placed in the tomb in a rush because it was the Day of Preparation, the day before the special Passover. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting in the garden late on the afternoon that Jesus had been buried so they had seen Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus place his lifeless body there, sealing the entrance with a very large stone.


As they were walking to the tomb, they asked each other, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” Suddenly, there was an earthquake! An angel came down from heaven, rolled the stone away, and sat on it. His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. The guards that had been placed at the tomb shook with fear when they saw the angel, and fainted.

When the women arrived at the entrance of the tomb, they saw that the stone had already been rolled away. They were both amazed and alarmed! The angel spoke to them, “Do not be afraid! I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying.”

The women could see that the tomb was indeed empty.

The angel continued, “Now go and tell his disciples, including Peter, that Jesus is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there, just as he told you before he died.”

The women fled from the tomb, trembling and bewildered, and as they went, they said nothing to anyone because they were too frightened. They went as fast as they could to find Peter and the other disciples.


In the mean time, the guards who had fainted at the appearance of the angel came to their senses, got up and ran into the city to tell the leading priests what had happened. A meeting with the elders was called, and they decided to give the soldiers a large bribe. They told them, “You must say, ‘Jesus’ disciples came during the night while we were sleeping, and they stole his body.’ If the governor hears about it, we will stand up for you so that you won’t get into trouble.”

So the guards accepted the bribe and said what they were told to say. The story that Jesus’ disciples had stolen the body from the tomb spread like wildfire throughout the city.


Meanwhile, Mary Magdalene had found Simon Peter and John. She said to them, “They have taken the Lord’s body out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”

As soon as Peter and John heard the news, they both started running towards the tomb. John outran Peter and reached the tomb first. When he got there, he stooped and looked in and saw the linen burial clothes lying there, but he didn’t go in. When Peter finally caught up, he went right past John and ran into the tomb. He also noticed the linen burial clothes lying there. Cautiously, John followed Peter inside, and when he saw that the tomb was really empty, he believed.

After this, they returned to their homes in the city, but Mary stayed behind. Tears began to stream down her face. She was confused. Who had taken the body of her Lord away? It didn’t make sense.

Take a moment to reflect on the story you have just read.
(sometimes it is helpful to read it again, slowly)

*Was there something in this story that you discovered—or thought about—for the first time?
*As you think about the story, what questions do you have? What do you wonder about?
*How might this story change your perspective / beliefs / behaviors?

I would love to hear what you are discovering as you think through these questions.
Comments are moderated to ensure they are relevant to the story and questions above.

Easter Story
Return Of The King | Last Supper | Garden | Accusations | Denial | Sentenced | Crucifixion | Burial | Empty Tomb | Appearance

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