Peter got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened. – Luke 24:12
What happened? As Peter peered into the open tomb, he was plagued by the question. Certainly he had plenty of evidence. He heard the women’s testimony (Luke 24:9-11). He went past the stone that covered the opening. He saw the linen strips that covered Jesus’ body. He could even recall the words Jesus had spoken previously: “On the third day he will rise again” (Luke 18:21-33). In spite of the evidence, Peter left the tomb wondering.
What happened? I may struggle with the same question. On Easter Sunday I may have heard about the open tomb. I may have been led past the stone that guarded the opening. I may have even been shown the linens, and heard the message of the women and the angels proclaiming that he is not here. Still, the question persists.
What happened? I need an answer, and Jesus is the only one who can help. I could try to rely on other resources, but none will answer the question. None will give me the peace of mind I desperately need. None will offer me any lasting assurance.
Jesus tells me what happened. Throughout his ministry, Jesus always pointed to his death and resurrection. These were the culmination of his God-appointed work. When Jesus died and rose from the dead, he proclaimed that every promise God made was kept. He also proclaimed that my rescue was secure.
Jesus’ resurrection is my guarantee that I am forgiven. Jesus’ resurrection is my guarantee that I am at peace with God. Jesus’ resurrection is also my guarantee of a new life. Because Jesus lives, I can live with confidence. Satan’s tyranny is defeated. Sin’s control is overcome. Death’s terror is silenced. Today, and every day, I can live with a resurrection joy. In addition, I can live every day with Jesus’ personal promise, “because I live you also will live” (John 14:19). I know the grave is not the end. Just as Jesus broke free from the grip of death, so will I. On that day I will live with him forever.
So, what happened on Easter day? I might be tempted to wonder about the resurrection, but my doubts are answered in Jesus. He lives. The tomb is empty. New life and heaven are mine.
He lives to calm my troubled heart; He lives all blessings to impart.
He lives, all glory to his name! He lives, my Jesus, still the same.
Oh, the sweet joy this sentence gives: “I know that my Redeemer lives.”