Now the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb – John 20:1
On the first day of the week when Mary Magdalene went to the tomb she found the stone rolled away. She went straightaway to let Peter and John know. They ran to the tomb. John got there first but didn’t go inside. Instead, he stooped down and looked in. He saw that the tomb was empty. Only the linen cloths were lying there. When Peter reached the tomb, he went inside.
He saw the linen cloths lying there and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself. John entered the tomb saw and believed. Then, the two disciples left and went back to their homes while Mary remained outside the tomb, weeping. She had no idea what had happened to her Lord. She believed that, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.” By “They” she might have been referring to the guards posted outside the tomb although I’m not sure why they would have moved the body. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus would have had no reason to move it either.
This morning when I read this, it dawned on me that the folded linen handkerchief which had been wrapped around Jesus’ head disproved the idea that His disciples had stolen the body at night while the guards slept. If that were true, they would not have had time to unwrap the body, neatly fold the cloths and then carry the body away. And the fact that the disciples were assembled in a room, fearful of the Jews, also disproves the notion that they would risk being caught stealing Jesus’ body.
The empty tomb and folded cloths speak volumes of the resurrection of Christ. Today, let us rejoice that our Lord lives and that one day He will appear a second time to those who look for Him, not to deal with sin, but to bring them to full salvation (Hebrews 9:28).