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
I was driving into St. Louis. Suddenly I noticed three police cars speed by with their lights flashing and sirens wailing. Soon these were followed by two fire trucks. The procession came to an end with two ambulances. Since they quickly disappeared I could only wonder, “What happened?” Soon I came to understand what did happen. I slowly passed by the scene of a multi-car accident. Now, I knew what happened because I witnessed the scene.
While seeing often leads to believing, it didn’t help Peter right away. After he arrived at the tomb, he peered into the empty cavity. He saw the strips of linen where Jesus’ body had been. Still he couldn’t believe his eyes. He walked away wondering what happened.
I face the same confusion. Through the words of the Bible I am invited to the empty tomb, and I am invited to look inside. There I see the strips of linen. There I see the place where Jesus’ lifeless body was laid. What I don’t see is Jesus. If I try to rely only on my eyes, I will remain like Peter. I will wonder what happened and remain confused about Jesus and his precious work.
I need to rely on the Bible to find out what happened. God’s Word tells me Jesus went to his death and the grave to secure my freedom from the punishment I deserved. Everything God the Father required, Jesus fulfilled fully and perfectly. His proclamation prior to his death is my certainty: “It is finished.”
God’s Word also tells me Jesus rose from the grave and proclaimed he is alive. With his resurrection he assures me I can put my faith in him and trust all he has done. The proclamation at his resurrection is my certainty: “Why do you look for the living among the dead?”
The benefit of Jesus’ work is mine through faith. This faith, worked by the Holy Spirit and God’s Word, takes hold of everything Jesus said and did. It removes all doubt. It even tells me I am his now and forever. Equally important is the confidence I can have that Jesus always stands by what he says. I do not have to rely on sight. Nor do I ever have to wonder what happened. I know. Jesus rose from the grave. The tomb is empty. Life is mine.