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From The Chaplain's Desk
From The Chaplain's Desk: The Empty Tomb
 

By Charles Dimmick, CT State Grange Chaplain

  April 1, 2020 --

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee.” Matthew 28: 5-7

The overriding message of Easter for Christians everywhere is Christ has risen from the dead. And the first message to Jesus’ followers that this had happened was the empty tomb. The details of finding the empty tomb vary among the four Gospels, but the essential message is the same. To his followers this was the second major reversal in their lives to occur in a three-day period. Only a week before they had been celebrating Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the festival we now call Palm Sunday. This was followed just a few days later by Jesus’ arrest on Thursday evening and crucifixion on Friday morning, bringing them to a new spiritual low; and now on Sunday morning came the news that the tomb was empty, and Christ had risen from the dead.

Many did not know what to believe; was this really true? Was the empty tomb really proof that Jesus had been resurrected? Or were they being set up for another disappointment. Did they Dare to believe?  Then the reports started coning in of Jesus appearing to various of his followers. According to Matthew’s Gospel, an angel appears to Mary Magdalene “and the other Mary” when they find the empty tomb, and announces Jesus’ resurrection. Hurrying from the tomb to tell the others, they suddenly encounter Jesus himself. Jesus told them “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” In Luke, Jesus appears to Cleopas and an unnamed disciple on the road to Emmaus, then to Peter, and then to the other disciples. Paul, in his first letter to the Corinthians, states that shortly thereafter Jesus appeared to 500 disciples at one time.

Gradually hope turned to certainty. Jesus had indeed risen from the dead. And then they remembered that Jesus himself had foretold all this, when he stated, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again.”

 

 

 
 
 

 
     
     
       
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