The Empty Tomb of Jesus – The Body of Jesus is Laid to Rest
Jesus was crucified. He was stripped, flogged, and nailed to a cross. He died in public humiliation and agony. Then the body of Jesus was removed from the cross and taken to the tomb of a wealthy landowner. His body was prepared with oils, spices and linens, and laid to rest.
However, the chief priests and Pharisees weren’t done with Jesus yet. They heard that he had amazingly predicted that he would come back to life after three days. So, just to be sure none of his followers would try to somehow pull a fast one by stealing the body, the religious leaders arranged to post guards at the tomb. The body of Jesus of Nazareth was now inside a tomb, the opening was sealed with a large stone, and a contingent of guards stood watch outside. The story of Jesus had seemingly come to an end.
The Empty Tomb of Jesus – The Body of Jesus is Gone
When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid. (Mark 16:1-8)
All four Gospels describe the scene at the empty tomb of Jesus. There are some variations on names and perspectives, but generally, women followers came to the tomb to anoint the body of Jesus, the heavy stone had been rolled to the side, and Jesus wasn’t there. Each of the accounts focuses on different details, but together, all of the accounts complement one another. In one report there is an angel, in another there are two angels. In one account there is even an earthquake. In the end, the women are afraid and run from the tomb to find the apostles.
So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.” (Matthew 28:8-10)
Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened. (Luke 24:10-12)
In the Gospel of Luke, Peter is mentioned as the first to get to the empty tomb of Jesus. In the Gospel of John, Peter and John run to the empty tomb together to see things for themselves. In the end, the apostles confirmed that the tomb was in fact empty. The body of Jesus was gone.