“Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen.” Luke 24:5-6a (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 we continue our study on the final week of our Lord Jesus’ life. Let’s use our imagination to 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 would they have 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, read Matthew 28:1-8 and John 20:1-10. Highlight any verses that stand out to you, or write them in your journal.
The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee loved Him and followed Him faithfully. His unexpected death was a blow—so very difficult to understand. Only one last reasonable act made sense—to anoint the body of the one they loved with good-smelling spices in order to bring some sense of dignity and closure to this terrible, heartbreaking event. This custom became their final act of kindness—their last symbol of love. They believed every word this kind, gentle man spoke while He lived. How could they have so grossly misunderstood? It felt like a sorrowful nightmare—He had the words of life, yet now He lay dead in a cold tomb.
With heavy, broken hearts, they solemnly walked along the narrow pathway to the grave. Three days prior, they witnessed the burial of Jesus; they knew where He lay. Tears gently fell down their swollen faces, as memories of the crucifixion flooded their minds. Earlier, they gazed at His broken body and bruised flesh. Oh, how different it was now! Only a short while ago, they heard Him speak with such power and love. Could they somehow have prevented this gruesome, cruel end?
Drawing near the tomb, the women notice the huge stone—it was no longer sealing the entrance! Something was terribly wrong. Questions swirled around their minds; fear and anguish overpowered their hearts. They peered inside. Oh, no! His body was gone—someone must have stolen it! Slowly they noticed the linen grave clothes in a pile, where Jesus’ body had lain, almost as if He slipped out of them while they were wrapped around His body!
“Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen.” (Luke 24:5b-6 NKJV). The angel’s voice jolted them back to reality and they fell to the ground in fright. Although they had not understood earlier, they suddenly remembered the words of Jesus, “The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again” (Luke 24:7 NASB).
A spark of hope and unspeakable joy ignited their hearts, just like when they first believed! Now the mysterious words Jesus spoke to them began to make sense! Though He was dead, He was now alive just as He had foretold them! Oh, the great, great love of Jesus! His body became a seed 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 percent God part of Him could be revealed. Had He not died, the Resurrection would not have happened, and He could not have sent us the Holy Spirit, the Comforter. John 12:24 (NLT) says,
I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives.
Jesus willingly went to the tomb and was resurrected to make available to us that 100 percent part of God inside of Him. He can now live in us through His Spirit! As we say yes to the abundant life God offers us through Christ, we must say no to our own flesh. Ephesians 4:22-24 (NASB) 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 heart) and become renewed by the Spirit of Jesus, we can put on our new self (incorruptible). It is a miracle: the old person we used to be falls off, just like the grave clothes of Jesus in the empty tomb!
Blessings and Love,
Questions to Ponder
- Look up Galatians 2:20 and 2 Corinthians 5:15. It’s tempting 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 (old 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 or 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 of your life 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 decide to allow our old selves to die, 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 sinner’s 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 repent of my sin. 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.”
Be sure to tell a Christian friend or pastor about your decision to follow Christ. They will be so happy for you!
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 exhibit them. 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 be diminished! 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 easier!