Acts 10:34a, 37-43
Psalm 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23 (24)
April 1, 2018
Mary Magdalene goes to the tomb on the first day of the week. They find “the stone removed from the tomb.” She knows this is important and immediately runs to Simon Peter and “the other disciple whom Jesus loved” and told them about the stone.
Immediately, they both ran to the tomb. Simon Peter goes in first and sees the burial cloths but no body.
The other disciple follows Peter in. We are told “he saw and believed.”
What did he see? What did he believe?
By the way, whose tomb is it anyway?
All the running tells us the fact that the tomb is empty is important. Today, the fact that so many people come to church this morning tells us this is something important.
So, again, whose tomb is it anyway?
It is the tomb of Jesus.
This gospel passage standing alone assumes we “know what has happened all over Judea.”
To understand the important of the empty tomb, we need to take a step back at what happened leading up to the empty tomb. Obviously, Jesus had died or they won’t have laid him in the tomb. What led to his death?
Jesus came as the Messiah but not the messiah that some people wanted. They wanted a great political king who would free them from the Romans. Jesus doesn’t do that.
These same people wanted a messiah that would agree with everything they said. Jesus didn’t. His words came from God our Father.
Jesus knew they were plotting to kill him. He was not deterred. Knowing what was about to happen and knowing how it would shake the faith of the disciples, Jesus celebrated the Last Supper with his disciples.
It was not just any meal. It was the Passover meal celebrated with unleavened bread and wine. Jesus takes the bread and wine and transubstantiates it into his Body and Blood which he will give up for us on the Cross.
And so he gives us the precious gift of the Eucharist and tells us to keep celebrating it in remembrance of him.
Then came the arrest and trial of Jesus. He was an innocent man but those who opposed him wanted him dead. They beat him, they mocked him, and mocked him as the king of the Jews because they didn’t understand what it means for Jesus to be our king.
Ultimately, he was crucified, considered the worst and most humiliating form of execution. Did it have to be?
To understand why, we must understand that Jesus’ life was not taken from him. He freely gave it up for us.
After his death, Jesus was laid in the tomb. Now, we come back to the empty tomb on Easter morning. The empty tomb means Jesus is Risen! It means that Jesus was not defeated. Jesus is victorious over death!
So, we can see Jesus’ death as something good (Hence, we call it Good Friday). His death brings us salvation.
He did this because he loves us! He died for our sins so that we might have eternal life.
This is what brings us here today. We need the hope that Jesus brings. It reveals God’s love for us. It is the high point of salvation history.
God has always loved his people. He watched over them. He heard the cry of the Israelites in Egypt and rescued them from slavery. He formed a covenant with them based on the Ten Commandments. When people failed to follow his commandments, God allowed them to suffer the consequences of their sin but he did not stop loving them.
He sent prophets to lead them to conversion but they didn’t always listen. Ultimately, God sends us his Son Jesus because he knows it is the only way for us to be saved.
Jesus died for us!
Jesus gives us a way to celebrate his sacrifice. It is the Eucharist! Every time we celebrate Mass, we are celebrating the sacrifice of Jesus. Every time we receive Communion, we are receiving Jesus to strengthen us, to help become who Christ calls us to be.
Let us rejoice for Jesus Christ is Risen Today!
Thank you Jesus!