Matthew 28:1-15 (NIV)

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. 2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. 5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.” 8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”  11 While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. 12 When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, 13 telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ 14 If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” 15 So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.

Matthew 28:5-6 (NRSV)

The angel said, “Jesus who was crucified….is not here; for he has been raised, as he said.  Come, see the place where he lay.”

DEVOTION – Gus Browning (Texas)

Years ago I visited the tomb of Russia’s Vladimir Lenin in Moscow and then later, China’s Chou En-lai in Beijing. In each tomb, the body of the former leader was preserved in a clear coffin where his faithful followers could see it as they paid their respects.  As I emerged from each of those tombs, the same thought went through my mind:  Where could Jesus’ followers go to see his body?  The answer, of course, is nowhere!

I also have visited the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, built around the traditional site of Jesus’ tomb.  I personally like another site better, one called Gordon’s Garden Tomb.  While it may or may not have been the tomb of Jesus, it was more like what I imagined his tomb to be.  I went inside past a large stone in a groove to permit rolling it to seal the tomb door.  I saw where a body would have been laid, but no body lay in either of these two Jerusalem tombs.

No major religion except Christianity claims that its founder rose from the deal.  If this claim by Jesus’ followers had not been true, all that the authorities would have had to do was point to his dead body.  They tried to say his disciples stole it but would those who hid on Easter evening “for fear of the Jews” (John 20:19) have later sacrificed their lives if they knew the Resurrection was a lie?  Three leaders, three tombs, but only one leader is alive today!

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Let us rejoice in our risen Lord!

PRAYER:  Thank you, God, for Christ our risen Savior and for the power of your Holy Spirit.  Amen

PRAYER FOCUS: Visitors to Jerusalem