This morning we woke to find Elfie sitting by the tomb. And to all of our amazement the tomb was empty! No wonder Elfie has such a grin on his face!!! After yesterday’s lesson on Jesus’s death on the cross the boys were jumping up and down in celebration! Our lesson today comes from John 20:1-20:
20 Early on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb. It was still dark. She saw that the stone had been moved away from the entrance. 2 So she ran to Simon Peter and another disciple, the one Jesus loved. She said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb! We don’t know where they have put him!”
3 So Peter and the other disciple started out for the tomb. 4 Both of them were running. The other disciple ran faster than Peter. He reached the tomb first. 5 He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there. But he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came along behind him. He went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there. 7 He also saw the funeral cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place. It was separate from the linen. 8 The disciple who had reached the tomb first also went inside. He saw and believed. 9 They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.
11 But Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she cried, she bent over to look into the tomb. 12 She saw two angels dressed in white. They were seated where Jesus’ body had been. One of them was where Jesus’ head had been laid. The other sat where his feet had been placed.
13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
“They have taken my Lord away,” she said. “I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 Then she turned around and saw Jesus standing there. But she didn’t realize that it was Jesus.
15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who are you looking for?”
She thought he was the gardener. So she said, “Sir, did you carry him away? Tell me where you put him. Then I will go and get him.”
16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
She turned toward him. Then she cried out in the Aramaic language, “Rabboni!” Rabboni means Teacher.
17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me. I have not yet ascended to the Father. Instead, go to those who believe in me. Tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ ”
18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news. She said, “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.
19 On the evening of that first day of the week, the disciples were together. They had locked the doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Jesus came in and stood among them. He said, “May peace be with you!” 20 Then he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were very happy when they saw the Lord.
While this is a story we usually hear about at Easter time, I think it is so crucial to understanding as we celebrate Christmas as well. Jesus’s resurrection is the cornerstone of our faith. Not only did He suffer and die on the cross for us, but in His unfathomable greatness He rose from that grave. Death could not hold him! The boys jumped up and down in amazement that Jesus had arisen.
Mary was the first one to find the tomb empty. I wonder how she felt finding the tomb that way? Obviously the scripture tells us she was afraid and thought that people had taken Jesus and placed Him somewhere else. I asked the boys what they would have thought if they were the first ones to arrive at the tomb that day? They answered that they would probably be afraid and not know where Jesus went.
When Mary looked up into the tomb the second time she did not see an empty tomb. Standing beside her she saw Jesus very much alive! How amazing that moment must have been to realize Jesus was indeed alive!
Our craft today was a simple hand print with a nail hole in the middle to signify when Jesus showed the disciples His hands and has side to prove that it was He. As I watched Johnathan glide his paint brush over the hole in that hand print I was overcome with emotion for what Christ has done for us. My little boy will live forever in Heaven in the presence of Jesus not only because of that hole in that hand print but because of that empty tomb that Elfie built us!
So many miracles and amazing things happen in the story of Jesus’s life. The resurrection is, of course, one that a lot of people are familiar with. What surprised me the most about this lesson is that it seemed to be the first time that my boys had heard it. Maybe it was just the first time it clicked within the story of Jesus’s life? I know we have talked about the resurrection before at Easter, and of course when we talked with J about his salvation. But yet, they seemed so amazed and surprised that Jesus rose from the dead. Sir Robert Anderson wrote:
Apart from it, the incarnation and the ministry would lose all their significance, the
crucifixion would be but a martyrdom, and the cross a symbol of the victory of
death over life. By the Resurrection it was that the Crucified One was “declared to
be the Son of God with power,” the great truth on which the Christian’s faith is
founded, and to which his hope is anchored. That Christ died for our sins is the
Gospel of the Christian religion regarded as a human cult. The Gospel of
Christianity goes on to declare “That He rose again the third day according to the
Scriptures” (1 Cor. 15:4). And to show the immeasurable importance of the added
words, the Holy Spirit testifies that if Christ be not raised, our faith is vain, we are
yet in our sins…The empty tomb, and not the manger of Bethlehem, is the
earthly symbol of the great birth upon which Christianity is founded. Were it
not for Bethlehem there could be no Calvary; but, apart from the Resurrection,
Calvary were but a stupendous disaster, of which the Cross would be for all time
Two of my favorite quotes on the resurrection are from Clarence W. Hall and John MacArthur who said, “The resurrection of Jesus changes the face of death for all His people. Death is no longer a prison, but a passage into God’s presence.” And “If Christ was not raised, His death was in vain, your faith in Him would be pointless, and your sins would still be counted against you with no hope of spiritual life.”
Today I was convicted that we need to celebrate Jesus’s resurrection everyday, not just on Easter. I want our boys to know the power of knowing they serve, and love, and are loved by a living God….not just a stature or martyr. Our God is alive! He is alive in us and around us! Thank you Father God. Thank you……..