But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find the body. While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Luke 24:1-5 (NRSV)
We have heard the Easter story so many times that it seems “normal” to us. But if we really put ourselves in the place of the women who went to Jesus’ tomb how would we feel? Frightened? As if someone were playing a sick joke? After all, the natural order of flesh is that dead is dead. People don’t just spring back to life, especially after being dead for at least 36 hours.
My initial thought would probably have been that someone had taken Jesus’ body and hidden it as a cruel joke, in spite of the words from the angelic appearing men. After all, He wasn’t there, dead or alive. The logical approach would have been to be like Thomas who didn’t believe Jesus was alive until he saw Jesus’ pierced hands and feet. The women may still have needed to see Him for themselves to believe that he truly was alive. Doubt is part of faith. There is nothing about belief that says that we are supposed to check our brains at the door. (1 John 4:1-4) There is an old Russian proverb that says, “Trust, but verify.” It’s important to discern even as you believe.
Yet faith often defies logic- the sick are cured, the blind can see, the impossible becomes possible. Even in the everyday there are countless pocket miracles in which we can clearly see the hand of God if we only look for it. It is not so much about our faith (which is weak and riddled with doubt at best) but in the One in Whom we believe.
The power of the Resurrection is that life wins. Death has lost its power. Jesus was supposed to be dead, but now He is not in the tomb. The tomb could not hold Him.
What does that mean for us?