But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men suddenly stood near them in gleaming clothing; and as the women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why are you seeking the living One among the dead? He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, saying that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinful men, and be crucified, and on the third day rise from the dead.” And they remembered His words.
In Luke’s account of Easter Sunday, we are told specifically why the women were going to the tomb that morning. They had gathered spices and were taking them to the place where they had seen Jesus buried. They wanted to anoint His body properly for burial. In the rush of Friday night, His body had not been attended to in the customary manner. Though bodies were not embalmed, they were often covered in spices to preserve them for as long as possible. They had cared for Jesus up to that point (Mark 15:41), and they would continue to do so even after His death.
They expected to find Jesus’ body still wrapped, lying where they had seen Joseph place Him. Instead, they had an angelic encounter. (Luke recorded this as two angels.) Understandably caught off guard, the women were frightened.
“He is not here, but He has risen.” The women were looking for Jesus in the wrong place. They sought “the living One among the dead.” As those who have experienced new life in Christ, we also, at times, look for life where there is only death. Whether this is in old habits or well-worn sin patterns, we pick up the grave clothes that belong to our old selves and expect them to bring life. We go back to old ways, old relationships, and old lies thinking it might be different this time. But dead things will always carry the stench of death. Only Jesus can bring life out of death. Too many of us are digging in tombs for something that isn’t there. Jesus is calling us into the light of day, where He might be found.
- Where do you find yourself looking for life in the midst of death? What habits, sin patterns, and unhealthy behaviors do you continue to foster? What needs to change?
- What do you need Jesus to resurrect in your life?
- Ask the Lord to put to death your old ways and old self. Ask Him for the power to leave those ways in the past and walk fully in the light. Thank Him for being the living One who can bring life from death.