In the Gospel of Mark, we read that on Sunday morning, Mary Magdalene, Mary, and Salome went to the tomb with spices. They wondered how they would roll away the stone that blocked the tomb’s entrance, which blocked them from anointing Jesus’ dead body. But when they arrived, they saw that the stone had already been rolled away and the tomb was empty. A man dressed in white told them that Jesus had been raised and that they should go and tell his disciples. The women left in fear and told no one.
Was Jesus’ body stolen by a thief or by his disciples during the night or was he raised from the dead by God? Was the man in white a thief, a gardener, or an angel? Did the women keep silent or were they the first evangelists?
Some Christians read the four different gospel accounts of Jesus’ death and resurrection literally and understand them as historical, factual events. Meanwhile, others don’t believe that the Bible is a history book but they still struggle with the question, “is this Easter story true?” Wherever you stand on this debate (it’s completely up to you), I’d like to ask a deeper question: “what does this Easter story mean?”
One of the most powerful images from this story is the empty tomb. To me, it means that Jesus isn’t found among the dead - he’s found among the living. Jesus lives on in the stories and ministries of his disciples (the men AND the women). He lives on in our stories and ministries as Christians. Moreover, Jesus’ spirit of generosity and compassion lives on in anyone who gives a cup of cold water to another person (Matthew 10:42) and feeds someone who is hungry (Matthew 25:37). Jesus’ spirit of radical hospitality flows through anyone who visits another person in prison and welcomes strangers in their midst (Matthew 25:35-36). Jesus’ spirit of love dwells in anyone who heals and comforts a person who is sick, and provides clothing and warmth to people who don’t have enough.
What does this Easter story mean? It means that Jesus lives on - in us.
What are the stones we need to roll away to have Jesus live more fully in us today?