Jesus is risen from the death after He was buried in a new tomb that no one was buried in. This holy tomb stays empty until now to witness the power of Jesus’s divinity and to stay as one of the proofs that confirms Jesus’s Resurrection.
1-The Empty Tomb :-
The first witnesses for the empty tomb, as mentioned in the four gospels, are Mary Magdalene and the women. When they went to the tomb bringing the spices, they saw an angel from heaven pointing to the empty tomb after he announced to them that Jesus is risen “as He said” Matthew 28:6 The moment of resurrection itself was never seen by any one. The angel came from heaven and rolled the stone away from the tomb to make it easy for Mary and the women to see the tomb empty and to see that Jesus was not there as He said.
The second visitors to the empty tomb were Peter and John. When Mary told the disciples that the tomb is empty and that they did not know where Jesus’s body was, Peter and John ran to visit the holy tomb. John arrived first, he stooped down and looked in. He saw the linen clothes lying there.Then Peter came and went into the tomb. He saw the linen clothes and the handkerchief that has been around Jesus’s head not lying there with the clothes, but folded together in a place by itself. Then John went in also and he saw “and believed”.John 20:1-8
Peter was surprised and the rest of the disciples believed when Jesus appeared to them in the upper room. John was the only disciple who believed in Resurrection when he saw the empty tomb. St John knew that it was not possible for Jesus to stay dead or in a tomb because He said “ I am the resurrection and the life” John 11:25
St. John also found the proof that Jesu’s body was not stolen or moved to another place as Mary Magdalene thought because who would be that thief who arranged all of that with such an extra care!
2-The Bright Empty Tomb:-
We have never heard of an empty tomb that does not have a buried body. We never heard about a tomb that has light comes out of it once a year. It is only the Holy Tomb the tomb of our saviour, an empty bright tomb! It is a repeated miracle that occurs on the Bright Saturday of every year when the light comes out of Jesus’s tomb in Jerusalem. It is something above imagination which evidence that Jesus who is risen from the dead has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” 2 Timothy 1:10 Jesus is the Light and He came to the world to brighten our life. Through His death and his resurrection Jesus enlightened immortality. Immortality would be dark and unknown matter without The Resurrection, but now with Jesus we have hope in immortality.
3-Why did Jesus leave His tomb empty?
I-The empty tomb is a witness for His resurrection. It is to affirm that Jesus’s resurrection is different from any one who came back to life. Those people who were brought back to life died again, but Jesus is risen from the dead with a body of light that never dies. This is why He left the linen clothes and the handkerchief because this body of light does not need clothes. St. John explained this in his gospel when he talked about Lazarus “who he died came out bound hand and foot with grave clothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth.” John 11:44 Jesus resurrected and left the grave clothes in the tomb but for Lazarus he came out with the grave clothes. It was a sign that Lazarus will die again but the linen clothes in Jesus’s tomb became a sign for life and resurrection.
II-Jesus is the only one who is risen in glory, defeating death and leaving His tomb empty, until today and to the end, as a witness for a resurrection that has no death afterwards. This means He gave us hope in the happy immortality with Him. Whatever our sins and weakness are, we have hope in Jesus who is able to rise up again once we repent and abide in His resurrected body in the sacrament of communion.
III-Our Lord Jesus Christ is the only one who arose and defeated death. Death scares everybody but Jesus left His tomb empty so we are not scared from death. For believers death is not scary anymore because there is resurrection. There is not pain but gain, there is no end but a start of a heavenly life.
4-The Empty Tomb in the Orthodox Art:
The Art of the Orthodox Church approved the “Empty Tomb” icon as a historical proof for the Resurrection. Unlike the Western art, we do not picture Jesus coming out the tomb, because no one saw Him coming out of the tomb. Therefore, we see the icon of resurrection in the Orthodox Art picturing Jesus by Himself and not coming out of the tomb.
Jesus who defeated death, Give me the strength to be unafraid of death but with humble I stoop in front of your tomb to see the light that brightens up my life. Give me faith to witness Your Holy Resurrection and increase my aspiration to the heavens and the immortality with you.
Christ is Risen!
Indeed He is Risen!
Enjoy the happiness of the Resurrection! Happy Easter!