I took the photos in this post on a trip to the Holy Land during my senior year in College. The picture above is of the Tomb in the Garden, taken in the late afternoon light. It is the site many believe to be the actual tomb in which the body of Jesus was placed.
Like our Savior, the large stone has long been gone.
Yet, the site easily conjures echoes of voices. Voices of those that had come with nothing but questions and heavy hearts. But who left with a hope and energy and excitement that would change their lives forever!
1 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared.
2 And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb,
3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
4 While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men suddenly stood near them in dazzling clothing;
5 and as the women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living One among the dead?
6 He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee,
7 saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.”
8 And they remembered His words,
9 and returned from the tomb and reported all these things to the eleven and to all the rest.
10 Now they were Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James; also the other women with them were telling these things to the apostles.
11 But these words appeared to them as nonsense, and they would not believe them.
12 But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he *saw the linen wrappings only; and he went away to his home, marveling at what had happened.
While I stood in front of the tomb, it was easy to see why the women who came in the morning, when the sun would have been shining from the other direction, would have had to enter the tomb in order to see Jesus. The carved out ledge, where His body was placed, was inside and to the right.
The picture below (in the afternoon light) shows a couple peering in--just as Peter and John would have done as they ran up to it. With the light from this angle, they would have seen right way the empty grave clothes on that ledge.
Visiting the site was incredibly moving for me. It made the resurrection story come alive in my mind as I envisioned the first disciples and the wild swing of emotions they experienced.
Yet, it isn’t the site that makes the story so remarkable. It is Jesus Himself! The One who loved us enough to fulfill God’s greatest promise.
The One who was born to die in my place.
And the One who died a horrible death willingly to take the penalty for each and every one of my sins.
And the One who rose from the dead, left this grave, and thereby conquered death once and for all—not only for me. But for each and every person who claims His forgiveness!
May you have a wonderful Easter Celebration with your family!