YOU and Easter assurances

Hollis Hiscock

hollis-for-hollistorial-adj-clippedThe blazing dawn sunlight shrouded your eyesight as you stepped inside the dark tomb.

YOU are familiar with this tomb. Earlier, Joseph of Arimathea invited friends to view this, his final resting place carved into Jerusalem’s rocky hillside.

Today, YOU visited for a different reason.

Three days ago, YOU followed Jesus to Golgotha and watched the long-expected Messiah slowly die the death of a common criminal.

Having overheard Joseph and his friend Nicodemus (both Jesus’ followers) make plans to obtain formal permission to remove Jesus’ body and place it in Joseph’s tomb, YOU decided to stay and watch.

Later YOU witnessed their return, lovingly placing Jesus’ body in Joseph’s tomb and sealing the opening with a mammoth round stone.

Then soldiers were stationed near the tomb for three days to prevent Jesus’ followers from stealing his body and claiming he had risen from the dead.

YOU decided to be there early on the third day. 

Tomb
This tomb, like Joseph’s, is carved into a rocky hillside and has a huge round stone used to seal the entrance. Notice the portico where friends and family could visit their deceased loved one. Hollis took this picture underneath the city of Jerusalem. Photo: Hollis Hiscock

Arriving before daybreak, YOU crouched in the shadows to avoid detection and to observe.

Following an earthquake like noise, the soldiers ran nosily towards Jerusalem. Shortly afterwards several women arrived at the tomb. One screamed, “The tomb is empty!”  They too hastily returned to the city. 

YOU decided to take a closer look.

Inside the tomb, as your eyes became accustomed to the dark, YOU noticed the neatly folded clothes and the empty rock slab where his body had been laid.

Voices from outside interrupted your concentration. YOU heard a male telling a female that Jesus is back from the dead and she must tell his followers the good news. YOU peeked around the corner, watched the woman rushing away, but YOU saw nobody else.

Later that evening, YOU stood in the same room where Jesus had gathered with his disciples the night before he was crucified. 

Suddenly, great excitement filled the room. People were shouting that Jesus was there, he appeared even though the doors were solidly locked. “Peace be with you,” he greeted each person.

After Jesus left, conversations erupted as the followers tried to understand what was happening. 

As YOU prepared to leave, two overly excited disciples burst in, claiming, “Jesus is alive, we saw him as we travelled home to Emmaus”. Asked how they recognized him, they replied, “At supper in our house, when he took the bread, blessed it, broke it and gave it to us”.

The tête-à-têtes continued into the wee morning hours.

YOU eventually left the upper room, wandered aimlessly and ended up at Jesus’ tomb. The external winds chilled your body and the internal breezes gripped your soul.

YOU entered the tomb and sat on the rocky bench. YOU pondered on what had transpired, probing for reassurances. 

YOU began recalling what Jesus said and did.

YOU remembered Jesus’ promise to go and prepare a place with God for you, and his vow to come at the appropriate moment to take YOU with him. “Where I am, you may be also.”

YOU believed the reassuring witness of the women that Jesus was once again alive – risen as he said he would. A fait accompli!

YOU were reassured by what happened at Emmaus. YOU remembered the evening before he died when he called the bread his body and wine his blood, suggesting, “Do this in remembrance of me”. YOU vowed now to keep that promise.

Mostly YOU are assured by Jesus’ promise, “I am with you always.”

The sun peered over the Holy City, as YOU began walking towards the light of a new day and into the new birth season of a world transformed by the loving God of Easter.

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