The Empty Tomb
Years ago, my husband and I visited the garden tomb outside Jerusalem. We went first as part of our official tour, but then we had a few days to ourselves to explore and we didn’t hesitate. We went back to the garden and spent time on our own sitting absorbing the quiet, beauty, and spiritual awareness that seemed to soak into our bodies. I could see there was a person in the rock-cut tomb, so I sat a distance away, wanting to visit alone.
After the man had left, I made my way to the tomb which was unearthed in 1867 and believed by many to have been the place where my Savior’s body was laid after He was crucified.
Inside the Tomb
I walked through the entrance, past a heavy varnished door that stood ajar. I didn’t pay any attention to it, although I saw there was some sort of notice attached to it at eye level.
The area where the body would have laid is railed off to prevent vandals or even over-zealous worshipers from doing any harm. I experienced the presence of the Lord in such a real sense as I stood in awe that I wondered how anyone could ever doubt this was the true final resting place of the Savior.
After soaking in all the tomb had to offer, and spending some time in silent prayer and worship, I turned to leave. Only then, did I pay attention to the large notice nailed to the door. In bold carved words were the words,
HE IS NOT HERE
FOR HE IS RISEN
The hair on my arms stood up. I was glad I hadn’t seen it before entering the tomb as the words struck me so much more. He really really had risen. No doubt.
Facing me, as I exited past the massive door, I saw a huge round-hewn disc, an example of the boulder that would have been used to seal the tomb with Jesus’ body inside.
And this brings me to the thought I want to leave with you today.
As a child, I was taught how the angels rolled away the stone so that Jesus could come out. As I grew in my Christian faith, I realized: Jesus didn’t need the stone to be removed. He didn’t walk out. He arose! If He could conquer death, He certainly wouldn’t be stuck inside by a mere boulder.
No—the boulder was not removed for Jesus. It was removed for the disciples. For Mary. For us.
It was rolled away so that we could see inside! That we may not doubt, but believe.
He is not here for He is risen!
Every blessing to you as you celebrate the death and amazing resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. We may be in lockdown—but Jesus is not. May you experience His presence in an amazing way this Holy Easter time.
Please take your time and watch this short video clip as often as you want to. Try and imagine the atmosphere visitors can feel as they stand in this incredible burial place. And soak in the message burned into the door:
He is not here —FOR HE IS RISEN.
Can I hear an amen from you?
Have you been to Jerusalem? Have you seen this sight for yourself? If not, take a look at this site which describes it in far better detail than I ever could.