Fr. Sanctus Mario
Inspiration and Bible Reflections

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As We Look into the Empty Tomb. Easter Breakfast with the Word

Easter Breakfast with the Word

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 Acts 10:34,37-43, Colossians 3:1-4 , John 20:1-9

 

 

Alleluia Alleluia, there is joy all over the earth. Jesus has conquered death. The earth rejoices, the heaven rejoices that the son of God has brought victory. It is marvellous in our eyes.

 

This is a mystery that no one can comprehend. No one has tried to explain the way the whole thing happened. The only evidence that we have is when we look into the tomb where Jesus was buried. 

 

In the city where he died, there are many tombs of great men, prophets and patriarchs but the tomb of Jesus is empty. There is no one in the tomb. As we look into the tomb we find the reason Christianity is different.

 

As we look into the tomb, the verifiable evidence proves that Jesus is no longer dead but alive. If Jesus is alive then we are hopeful of our eternal salvation. 

 

 

The Mystery of Today’s Event.

 

 

Everything about the resurrection of Jesus from the beginning to the end is shrouded in mystery. The evidence that proves that Jesus resurrected from the dead is quite glaring.

 

 

1. During the suffering, crucifixion and death of Our Lord Jesus Christ, everybody saw his body. Everybody saw the agony, the torture, the nailing on the cross and eventually the burial. Hence it is a mystery that up till now, no one has been able to prove where the body of Jesus is. 

 

2. The guards were, therefore, stationed at the sepulchre. The guards rolled up a mighty stone and closed the tomb. What happened in the forty hours between the burial on Friday and dawn on Sunday morning and how it happened no man knows.

 

 

3. There is no evidence anywhere in the past, present and future that anyone can dispute that the tomb of Jesus is not empty on Sunday morning. Even those who crucified Jesus could not. Where He is till today remains a mystery.

 

To further ascertain the truth of the resurrection, Jesus appeared to His apostles. He appears several times to show that He is truly risen and alive alleluia. 

 

The Testimony of the Empty Tomb.

 

The Gospel reading today reports that it was very early in the morning and everywhere was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb to anoint the body of Jesus and then saw that the stone had been rolled away. Mary became worried and distressed. 

 

Mark 16:3 says that other women accompanied her and they were busy asking “who will roll away the stone for us”. When she saw that the tomb was open and the stone rolled away, Mary ran to Simon Peter and John and reported that they had taken the body of Jesus, maybe they had stolen it. 

 

At this point, she has not yet encountered Jesus and her report was based mainly on human feeling and human understanding. 

 

Mary became convinced when she encountered the Lord. This is the reason it is good for every Christian to strive to come close to God. It is good to have a spiritual encounter.

 

Many who tell you that Uka di na obi (Church is the heart) and others who say many things against the divine nature of Jesus and Christianity, base their evaluation on human feelings, emotions and level of understanding.

 

We need to come close to God to be able to talk about Him convincingly. Today, Mary reported that they have taken the Lord, invariably because she never knew that Jesus would resurrect.

 

Even the apostles who ran to the tomb can be accused of this too. Verse 9 of today’s gospel says that even at that moment they failed to understand that Jesus has risen.

 

This in essence shows that none of the disciples as the Jews claimed stole the body. Even the disciples at that point were confused.

 

The truth is that what happened is beyond human understanding. This is God for you. What He does is beyond human comprehension.

 

When God answers prayers and comes to save you at the point you may have lost hope in life can take you by surprise. This is the reason it is not good to lose hope in God even when others have lost hope in Him. 

 

The Resurrection happened once and for All.

 

 

The three witnesses to the empty tomb today are very quite certain that something strange has happened. None of them remembered all His prophecies about His resurrection. They were busy searching to know where the body is.

 

So as they looked into the tomb, they saw that the tomb is empty and that Jesus is no longer in the tomb. This is the greatest news of the century. This is the Easter message, that Jesus is now alive and no longer in the tomb. 

 

Mary Magdalene and the apostles were distressed today because such an event has not happened before and will never happen again. The resurrection event became what speaks of Jesus as the only one sent by God and the only messiah known by God. As we look into the empty tomb, we find what makes Christianity what it is. 

 

The Powers that would have stopped the Resurrection.

 

 

1.The Soldiers: They were sent to guard the tomb. They were stationed there to make sure He did not resurrect. Guess how these guards might be feeling at that time? They would think that beyond them, nothing can happen.

 

Soldiers were sent to guard a tomb of the One who has been working great miracles? Imagine the feeling. They will feel on top of the world. This is why they foolishly obeyed. 

 

 

They may be saying among themselves “let us see who will come near this place and we will teach him/her a lesson”. Or “ let us see how this man will resurrect, we will prove to the world that he is fake, we are going to show Him”. 

 

 

This is the problem when a man feels he has a lot of power. When people think that they can do everything they want to do, they misbehave and even underrate the power of God until God does His things in His way. 

 

 

The guards underestimate the power of Jesus. They see him as one who is ordinary. Then, when the resurrection happened, none of them could withstand the power.

 

Many today underestimate the power of Jesus but come back to their senses when it becomes clear to them that they have wandered in ignorance all this while. They begin to search for last-minute salvation at their deathbed. 

2. Chief Priests, Pharisees, Jews and Romans.

 

 

These group after they have put Jesus to death, went home happily, thinking that they have won the battle. When the news of the resurrection came, they told the guards to lie that the apostles stole the body. Yet the news of the resurrection continues to spread. This is a pointer that nobody can stop the will of God in any person’s life. And Victory belongs to God and not to man. 

 

 

The truth is that the chief priests, Pharisees, Jews and Romans tried to fight and resist the early Christians but none of them attempted to refute that the tomb of Jesus remains empty till today.

 

 How come they believe the news that the body of Jesus was stolen but yet refused to arrest the person that made away with the body till today? How come the apostles easily roll away the stone with the soldiers awake to protect the tomb?

 

 

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 It is even funny that many at that time believed such news without questioning. How come that a whole mighty Roman empire till today has not discovered, heard, or found the place the body of Jesus was kept till today?

 

This tells us that the truth of the resurrection is not a myth nor a fabrication. It happened, and this is what we are proclaiming today.

 

 

3. The Stone.

 

 

Another question that the Jews have refused to answer us till today is “who removed the stone? Can the apostles remove the mighty stone? What a mighty stone but yet despite how mighty it may be did not stop the resurrection to happen. The stone had a practical significance. 

 

Guess what, since Jesus stepped out of the tomb in His glorified body, he would have just walked away without the stone being removed. Hence, the soldiers would have waited till this day guiding the tomb of Jesus. 

 

Many would have thought He is still in the tomb. Through the removal of the stone, Jesus is drawing attention that something significant is happening, that something which has not happened before has happened. 

 

Hence Jesus is using this event to reveal to us that despite how mighty people think they are, despite how strong the difficulties and problems against you, none is beyond His power. 

 

As we look into the empty tomb, there is a conviction that when we call on the name of the Lord, we are invariably invoking a mighty power.

 

It assures us that whenever we keep our faith in Jesus, our faith is not in vain. Being in His presence is being in the presence of the omnipotent and almighty. 

 

The Linen Clothes Have A Message.

 

When the apostles ran to the tomb, they saw some linen cloth lying there and the napkin that was around the head of Jesus wrapped together in a place by itself.

This was an indication that something strange happened and nobody stole the body. 

Through this God revealed one of His qualities as the God of order. He is not an author of confusion. He does his things in a way that people will believe in Him but like the Jews, some choose not to accept and believe. 

 

Had the body been stolen, the grave clothes would not have been left behind. Even if they were left behind, they would not have been neatly arranged in such a way.

 

 The person who wants to steal the body will do fast so as not to be caught. Either they would have carried the body with the linens or they scatter them in the tomb. Anyone stealing the body would not even waste his time unwrapping them at the scene of the crime. 

 

To touch a corpse even according to Jewish custom makes one ritually ‘unclean’ ( Numbers 19:11), so nobody would try that.

 

All these are to prove that Jesus has truly risen. When we look into the empty tomb, we see the foundation of our Christian faith. If Christ did not rise from the dead, then our faith is in vain (1 Corinthians 15;14).

 

 

Conclusion.

 

1. When we look into the empty tomb, we will be assured that whatever Jesus and the Scriptures revealed has come to pass. Prophecy fulfilled is a means whereby Scripture or truth is revealed. 

This first qualifies the scriptures as the word of God and not the word of man. This is a lesson for many who belittle the truths of the Bible.

 

 

If God reveals that the Messiah will come, suffer, die and resurrect and it happens that way, which the bible,  historical evidence and archaeological discoveries acknowledge.  It then means that the word of God is real and authentic. 

 

 

It is not something we are to play with. The resurrection event also shows that whatever God promises will surely come to pass. 

 

2. When we look into the empty tomb, the resurrection assures us of our resurrection: For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. (1Thessalonians 4:14).

 

The resurrection means that God has an eternal plan for these bodies of ours. It assures us that with Jesus we are sure of our eternity. 

In John 11:25-26, Jesus told Martha “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in Me will live, even though he dies. And everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. With Jesus, the power of death has been destroyed and nothing can stop us from achieving eternal life if we rest our faith in Him.

 

 3. As we look into the empty tomb we become certain that it is not baseless when we keep our faith in Jesus. The resurrection means that Christianity and its God are unique and completely different and unique among world religions.

 

The resurrection proves that though it looked like Jesus died on the cross as a common criminal, He died as a sinless man out of love and self-sacrifice to bear the guilt of our sin.

 

The death of Jesus on the cross was the payment, but the resurrection was the receipt, showing that the payment was perfect in the sight of God the father. 

 

 

4. When we look into the empty tomb, we become fully aware that human power can do nothing when God is fully involved.

 

The soldiers thought that they could guard the tomb with their human strength and intelligence but God said they cannot.

The Jews thought that everything about Jesus had ended, but God said, it is not. The chief priests thought that Jesus would rot in the tomb but God said He cannot. 

 

In the same way, when God is fully involved in your life, there is nothing man can do to you. They will attack and fight you. That is what they can do as they did to Jesus, but in the end, God will always have the victory. 

Many may also think that you will rot in our suffering and difficulties. Many may not consider any future for you but always know that only God can determine what can happen in your life.

The power of God is the almighty. What people think of you is not what will happen to you but what God thinks of you.

 

 

5. Just as the resurrection event became a strange event to people at that time and even to some who hear it today, always know that whatever God does, always confuses the logical and philosophical mind.

How the resurrection happened, only God can tell. Hence when we look into the empty tomb, we see God who does things in a way that confuses the human mind. 

From the conception of Jesus, His miracles and up to the resurrection, all that Jesus does, thrills the human mind and confuses the intelligent. Hence in God is the fullness of wisdom, power and salvation.

6. Finally, the resurrection propels us to live in faith and hope in God despite how mighty our troubles can be in life. The promises of God are real and not in vain. Therefore, stay faithful and live in hope, there is a victory for all who are in Christ Jesus. (1 Corinthians 15:57).

Rejoice and be happy today. Happy Easter!!

 

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3 Comments
  1. Juliet Akalemeaku says

    So Inspiring. Thanks Father

  2. UCHEM AUGUSTA DABERECHI says

    Alleluia! Christ has risen.

    Wonderful reflection, thank you Father.

  3. Blessing Iortsugh says

    The Same to u fr. Remain bless, Alleluia Alleluia Alleluia.

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