He is Risen!
The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre. (John 20:1)
Truth be told, most of us are thinking anew about Resurrection Sunday. The pandemic has caused that. Bible sales are spiking (as they did after 9/11).
That’s just how us humans are.
But it’s good to be reminded—even the hard way—that we are different from the world because our Savior is truly unique.
Many are frustrated that our civil liberties are being taken and in some cases, by unelected bureaucrats. I’m as frustrated as anyone. This weekend, millions are barred from their churches and places of worship, due to Washington’s seeming fear of the Coronavirus.
And that makes this the perfect time to think on something else, something pure and majestic and eternal.
I remember the first time I visited the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem. Not the one in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre—thought by Catholics to be the location of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. I mean the one known as “Gordon’s Calvary,” located just north of the Old City. The “Place of the Skull,” Golgotha, is a small rock hill and only yards from it is an ancient tomb cut out of solid rock. The tomb itself fits the descriptions in the Gospels.
A lush garden has been planted around these spots. Birds sing and the fragrance and color of the plants and flowers are breathtaking. A truly peaceful place to spend an afternoon.
But that tomb…
Inside, it’s small. One has to stoop down to get inside the door. A gap between the entrance and a “curb” running along the front would easily have held in place a large stone. One can’t help but be drawn to a stone bench inside; iron bars have been placed there so that pilgrims don’t chip the whole thing away.
In your mind’s eye, you can see Him sit up on that bench that morning so long ago. The sun would have shined through the door. One fascinating aspect of the location for me is the stone winepress just up the hill, uncovered only recently by archaeologists. Jesus would have walked over it on his way out of the garden. A forerunner of the coming judgment at the end of history, when we are told He will crush His enemies, like one pressing grapes.
I mention all this to say: it is there. The place exists. It is the most written-about event in all of history. A dead man came back to life. It is our great hope for the future.
Most of us will not meet each other in this life. But we will in the next! And we will live forever with our Creator.
I cannot fix the problems in my own hometown, much less world issues. I cannot gain justice for the myriad injustices in our world. Tonight, I am praying and I am meditating on the power of Jesus Christ. He alone has all power, and He is preparing to stand on the stage of History again. He is preparing a place for us.
God the Father raised Him from the dead, just as the prophets foretold. We are going on to glory. We are going on to other things.
We know where we’re going.
I hope it is soon.
Happy Resurrection Day!