The third day
It was empty, they had said. The doorway was open, and the tomb was empty. There had been more, but that had been enough for the two now rushing through the sleeping town.
Off they went, racing down the long, dark road as fast as their feet could take them. The first rays of the sun were just beginning to light the sky.
They had buried Him only three days before. What more could they want with His body? Hadn’t they beaten Him enough while He was alive?
Peter could still remember how the soldiers had struck Him with their whips again and again, long beyond the point of human endurance. And He had let them.
Jesus could have stopped it. Why did He let them go on? He said that He could have called legions of angels to protect Him. Why didn’t He?
A thought struck Peter. It was something from the prophet Isaiah: “He was hurt for our wrong-doing. He was crushed for our sins. He was punished so we would have peace. He was beaten so we would be healed.”
1 He did it for us. The opening of the tomb loomed in front. John was already there, staring into the tomb.
Peter slowed down as he approached. The sun was now peeking over the small rise behind them. The day had begun.
He went in, and John followed close behind. The tomb was empty. The linen cloths that had been used to cover the body were lying on the ground, and the cloth used to wrap the Lord’s head was neatly folded a little distance away. The body was gone. Taken. “Who, what...?” John was at a loss for words. Finally it came out. “Where did they take Him?”
There was no answer, only silence. The atmosphere was electric. There was something they were missing. Something important.
They stood there for a few minutes, waiting. Then the realization dawned on them as brilliantly as the sunrise that morning. Jesus had talked about this. They hadn’t understood it at the time, but now it made perfect sense.
“The Son of Man shall be delivered up to evil men, and on the third day He shall rise again.”
He is not here, for He has risen. —Matthew 28:6 I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. —Jesus, John 11:25–26