Holy Week: Easter Sunday

In Holy Week by Stuart Owens

1 On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came to the tomb, bringing the spices they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb. They went in but did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men stood by them in dazzling clothes. So the women were terrified and bowed down to the ground.

“Why are you looking for the living among the dead?” asked the men. “He is not here, but he has risen! Remember how he spoke to you when he was still in Galilee, saying, ‘It is necessary that the Son of Man be betrayed into the hands of sinful men, be crucified, and rise on the third day’?” And they remembered his words.

Returning from the tomb, they reported all these things to the Eleven and to all the rest. 10 Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them were telling the apostles these things. 11 But these words seemed like nonsense to them, and they did not believe the women. 12 Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. When he stooped to look in, he saw only the linen cloths. So he went away, amazed at what had happened.

Luke 24:1-12, CSB

Children have a hard time adjusting when plans get changed. In particular, my kids get really frustrated when something takes priority over our original plans to watch a movie, go to the park, or eat dinner at Chick-fil-A. Of course, I dislike having to change plans as well, and I really don’t like seeing my kids upset. “That’s life kids,” we’ll tell them, “You just have to learn to be flexible.” Every so often, however, the thing that was so pressing gets interrupted or it’s no longer an issue, which makes for some very happy kids when we get to tell them our plans are back on! Emotional roller coaster? Sure! But there’s something pretty sweet about the joy in their eyes when we let them know they’ll get to have a chocolate chunk cookie after all.

Can you imagine how the disciples must have felt when they laid Jesus in the tomb? All their dreams of a renewed kingdom and freedom from the Romans were crushed along with their Master as he bore the cross to Calvary. The despondency in the upper room must have been palpable that Saturday. Not only were their plans ruined, but their teacher was gone.

When you finally get a sense of the disappointment the disciples must have felt, it’s almost as if you yourself go on the emotional roller coaster with them as you read of the women finding the tomb empty early Sunday morning. You can understand why it would have seemed like an “idle tale” to the disciples as they heard the ladies recount the scene. “But Peter…” is usually the beginning of something going wrong in the gospels. Not in this instance, however. Like a child who had just been told that plans were back on, Peter raced to the tomb to find only the burial garments remaining, “and he went home marveling at what had happened.”

All of us find ourselves in an unusual place this morning. Our plans have most definitely changed. In fact, most of us have experienced deep disappointment in some aspects of life. We’ve come to see the effects of sin and death up close and personal. But that’s the beauty of Easter morning! Just as God rolled the stone back from the tomb’s entrance, so he is rolling back sin and death forever. Because Christ bore our sins on the cross and rose from the grave, we know with certainty that, “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” (Psalm 30:5) We can rest assured that our struggle will one day come to an end when we behold the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. And it will be a kingdom far better and greater than anything the disciples could have imagined as they walked with Jesus.

The question is, do you have the hope of the resurrection? Do you have the same joy the disciples felt when they learned their Master had risen indeed? You can if you will heed his call: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28–30)