The empty tomb

In Holy Week, we enter into Jesus’ suffering and death, step by step. The Gospels tell the story vividly. At the Last Supper, Jesus, surrounded by his closest disciples, institutes the Eucharist with the words ‘This is my body’ and ‘This is my blood.’ But Judas, sitting at the table and eating with Jesus, has already decided to betray him. That night, Jesus is left completely alone,deserted by all his friends.

On Good Friday Jesus is brought before the High Priest, and then to Pontius Pilate to be condemned to death. His disciples and his mother can only watch in horror as he is forced to carry his cross to Calvary before being crucified. When he breathed his last breath, it must have seemed like the end of all their hopes – a complete failure.

After a time of silence, watching and waiting, on Easter Sunday morning the disciples – first Mary Magdalene, then Simon Peter and the beloved disciple – find the tomb empty. John tells us that ‘Till this moment they had failed to understand the teaching of scripture, that he must rise from the dead.’ Though they haven’t yet seen the risen Jesus, the disciples begin to see. They will spend the rest of their lives coming to understand what God has done. And we, disciples of Christ today, will spend our whole lives coming to understand.

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