by Jonathan McLeod

This content is part of a series.

The Empty Tomb (1 of 5)
Series: He's Not Here
Jonathan McLeod
John 20:1-9


If the Gospel of John had been an ordinary biography, there would be no chapter 20!

Jesus had been crucified on Friday (or Thursday, as some believe). His body was in the tomb until the resurrection, which certainly took place before dawn on Sunday morning. The Gospels tell us that a group of women walked to the tomb from Jerusalem bearing spices to anoint the body of Jesus. There were at least four women and maybe more. Matthew says that the group included Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James. Mark adds that Salome was present. And Luke says that Joanna was among them. These women started out while it was still dark and arrived at the tomb very early in the morning.

When they reached the tomb, they were astonished to find the stone removed from the entrance. We can imagine them standing there, afraid to go too close and wondering what had happened. Who moved the stone? Had the body of Jesus been stolen? What should they do? Finally, they decided that the disciples must be told, and Mary Magdalene was dispatched to find them. Not one of them imagined that Jesus had been raised from the dead.

After awhile it began to grow lighter and the women grew bolder. They decided to look into the tomb. Then they saw the angels. The women were frightened. But one of the angels said, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen" (Matthew 28:5-6).

Meanwhile, Mary found the two chief disciples, Peter and John. Perhaps they were at John's house where the beloved disciple had taken Jesus' mother on the day of the crucifixion (John 19:27). The two disciples started for the tomb, running and leaving Mary far behind. Outrunning Peter, John arrived at the tomb first. He stooped to look through the narrow opening, and saw the grave clothes. Then Peter arrived, out of breath and in a hurry; he bru ...

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