The last time I was back in Australia I wanted to take my family to my father’s grave. Took us quite a while to find it. I just couldn’t remember quite where it was in the cemetery. But finally, we did find it. It was still there.
I remember standing at the gravestone and just weeping. It was like the wound of my father’s death had been torn open again. Death hurts.
Seeing someone’s grave is a reminder of the reality of death. And even our own. On the Sunday morning after Jesus death, the women that were following Jesus went to find his grave too. They went there sad and disappointed expecting to find the grave full. But they were in for a surprise. When they went there the stone was rolled away and an angel spoke to them and said
“Do not be afraid! I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here. He has risen, just as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.” (Matthew 28:5-6)
I’m sure that you can find the graves of your dead relatives just like I found the grave of my father. We would not go there expecting that it would be empty. But Jesus’ grave is different. Jesus had told his disciples that he would suffer and die. And on the third day rise again. And that’s exactly what happened.
Jesus is risen. He was dead, but now he lives. The place where he lay is now empty. Jesus’ empty tomb proves his victory over sin, death, and satan. It proves something else to us too. That is that one day our grave will be empty. There will be a day when I could come to my father’s grave and he won’t be there. Because Jesus has promised that he is coming back to raise the dead.
We too will rise.
So this is a great comfort for us. Part of the reason I was sad at the grave of my father that day was because my kids have never met him. One day they will. One day when Jesus comes again and takes us all to be with him in heaven, my kids will meet their grandfather.
You can approach your death with the same confidence. Because Jesus lives we too will live. Come and see the place where he is laid. He is not here, he is risen just as he said. Peace be with you. Amen.