“Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen.” Luke 24:5-6 (KJV)
“The biggest fact about Joseph’s tomb was that it wasn’t a tomb at all – it was a room for a transient. Jesus just stopped there…on His way back to glory.” -Herbert Booth
- Good morning friend! Today as we continue our study on the final week of our Lord Jesus, let’s imagine and go back to the tomb with Mary the mother of Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and the women who were with them. What must it have been like; how must have they felt after Jesus’ death? What did the empty tomb with the grave clothes represent?
- Read Luke 23:50-56 and Luke 24:1-12. If you have more time, also read Matthew 28:1-8 and John 20:1-10. Highlight any verses that stand out to you, or write them in your journal.
Why Seek ye the Living, Among the Dead?
The women had loved Him, had followed Jesus faithfully. His unexpected death was a blow, it was all so difficult to understand. But there was only one reasonable thing left to do: anoint the body of The One they loved with good smelling spices in order to bring some sense of dignity and closure to a terrible, heartbreaking end. This custom was their final act of kindness, their last symbol of love. They had believed every word He had spoken while He was alive, this kind, gentle man. How could they have so grossly misunderstood? It seemed like a terrible nightmare. He had the Words of Life, yet now He was laying dead in a cold tomb.
With heavy, broken hearts they meandered their way along the narrow pathway to the grave. Having been there 3 days prior, they had witnessed the burial of Jesus, they knew where He lay. Tears gently fell down their swollen faces, as memories of the crucifixion flooded their emotions. Earlier they had gazed at his broken body and bruised flesh. Oh, how different it was now. Only a short while ago, they had heard Him speak with such power and love. Could they somehow have prevented this gruesome, cruel end?
Drawing near the sepulcher, the women notice the huge stone; it strangely was no longer sealing the tomb! Something was terribly wrong. Questions feverishly began to swirl around their minds, fear and anguish overpowering their hearts. Oh no! His body was gone; someone must have stolen it! And then they noticed…the linen grave clothes where Jesus had been, almost as if He had slipped out of them while they had been wrapped around His body!
“Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen”. The Angel’s voice jolted them back to reality. Although earlier they had not understood, suddenly the words of Jesus became alive as he spoke, “The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.”
A spark of hope and unspeakable joy ignited in their hearts, just as when they had first believed! Now the mysterious words Jesus had spoken to them began to make sense! Though He was dead, He was now ALIVE just as He had told them!
But why? Why did all of this have to happen?
Oh, the great, great love of Jesus! His body was a like a seed that had to die, with the true life of God hidden on the inside. His outer shell (flesh) had to be shed as a garment to release New Life, so His Spirit could come to us! The grave clothes were a sign of that fleshly shedding, His humanness, so the 100% God part of Him could come out. Had He not died, the resurrection could never have happened, and He could not have sent us the comforter. John 12:24 says:
“I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But it’s death will produce a harvest of new lives.”
Jesus went to the tomb and was resurrected to make available to us that 100% part of God, his seed. He can now live in us! Yet as we say “yes” to His Spirit, we must say “no” to our own flesh to embrace the New Life He offers us. Ephesians 4:22-24 tells us:
“That, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”
As we lay aside our old self (corruptible) and become renewed by the Spirit of Jesus, we can put on the new self (incorruptible). It is a miracle: the old person we used to be will fall off, just like the grave clothes of Jesus in the empty tomb!
Questions to Ponder
- Look up Galatians 2:20, and 2 Corinthians 5:15. It’s easy to cling or hang on to our dead grave clothes to try to find life. Romans 8:12 says if we live according to the flesh, we will die, but if we put to death the deeds of the flesh, we will live.
- Do you find yourself clinging to your grave clothes (self)? Can your dig deep to find out why?
- Jesus loves you so, so much! He sacrificed everything for you, and gave his life so you could enjoy a relationship with Him forever! Can you truly believe this? Why? Why not?
- Can you think of areas in your life that have not been given over to Jesus completely? Write them down.
- What are some things that may be holding you back from surrendering every area to the lordship of Jesus? If you are afraid of failure, don’t worry! He isn’t as concerned about your behavior as He is about your whole heart being surrendered to Him. Your behavior will change as you give Him permission to work. He can supernaturally change us by His Spirit.
- When we come to the absolute end of ourselves, our flesh (grave clothes) come off and new life, the life of God by His Spirit can come in. This requires repentance, a godly desire to desire to turn away from our old ways. Then we can ask Jesus (His Spirit) to come in and transform us. Just as God breathed life into Adam in the Garden of Eden, so the Holy Spirit (the resurrected Jesus) can breathe LIFE into you today – Jesus wants to help you take off your grave clothes!
- If you have not yet believed, take a step of faith and pray the sinners prayer below:
“Dear God, I acknowledge I am a sinner. Any good in me is like filthy rags according to your standard of goodness. I fully believe in Jesus your son who died for me, being the final and perfect sacrifice so I could become your child of righteousness. I ask you to come and dwell in my heart as I confess and declare with my mouth that you are Lord of my life. Thank you for changing me, for delivering me from evil. I now want to live a life that is pleasing to you. Amen”.
- If you have already received Jesus as your Savior and are still struggling with sin, research the gifts of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-26, and choose to put them on. They are free and available to every Believer at any time! Like a light switch, you have to flip the switch on, choosing to turn off the flesh and turn on the Spirit. The darkness will automatically go away!
- You can ask someone you trust (who has evidence of the fruit of the Spirit in them) to lay hands on you, and pray for you to receive The Holy Spirit (Acts 19:6). As you empty yourself more and more of your own will and ask Him to fill you, He will give you more power, supplying everything you need to overcome sin! What once was difficult, now becomes easy!
Give hope, prayer, and encouragement below. Post a comment & talk about it.[/box]
Mari Jo had an encounter with the living God in 2000, and was freed from the bondage of legalism. She is passionate about Jesus and his love, and desires for everyone to know He is alive!