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.
I’ve never been to Jerusalem so thank you for the video, and for sharing your experience and lovely words.
Thank you Dianne. It was the most amazing time of our lives. We literally came home to a new Bible! So many scenes were different to what we had imagined. Spiritually, a refreshing and blessed time. We took a group from our congregation with us which made it all the more special.
How encouraging. I’m working on my sermon for this Sunday, hoping many unbelievers and unchurched people come so they can hear the Gospel. What a great hope we have in Christ.
That was a great video!
Oh wow! Good to have you here, Scott. Yes, just so good to know He is indeed risen! And that nothing can hold Him back. Thanks you for the visit.
You are welcome. I appreciate what you are doing, Shirley.
I liked the perspective of the stone being rolled away for our sakes, not so that Jesus could get out of the tomb! Of course, He entered the Upper room without opening the door, as the Risen Christ He was not bound by the natural laws, but by the power of Creator God. Resurrection power. I have not been to Israel to see the tomb, but have seen a replica here in Washington DC at the Franciscan Monastery and also in Salisbury, Rhodesia, when my uncle who was a Methodist minister, constructed on in the gardens of his church in Greendale.
How amazing about the replica your uncle built. And here we lived in Hatfield, Rhodesia, and never knew about it!
Yes, you’re right. He came into the room without opening the door. So why would he get the stone rolled away? Thanks for visiting.
We have visited the garden tomb in 2014 and yes, that sign on the door left a lasting impression. Especially after visiting some resting places in Israel, like that of king David, wich are not empty. Walking into an empty tomb just makes the realisation that He has rissen so much more amazing
So true, Madeleine. And comparing the garden tomb with some of the other official possible sites to me was ludicrous. I had no doubt. Thanks for the visit.