It’s hard to imagine how Mary Magdalene and the other Mary (Matt 28) must have felt when they turned up to the tomb to be presented with a violent earthquake and an angel of the Lord telling them Jesus was not there, that he had risen. Like the guards in the passage, did they tremble in fear? The angel tells them not to be afraid, so perhaps, yes, their first response was fear, not trust.
The women then run away, filled with joy, and Jesus appears to them on the road to Galilee. They see him, fall at his feet, and worship him.
At Jesus’ appearance, they move from fear to faith.
During times of uncertainty, how often do we pick fear over faith? After all, these two women and all the other disciples had the benefit of spending years with Jesus, seeing him perform miracles throughout his ministry, hearing him tell them that he would die and be resurrected, and then they spent time with him after his resurrection! Yet even they, after the resurrection, we are told in Matthew 28:17, ‘worshipped him but some doubted.’
Right now, Trinity is empty. The switch to a remote learning mode has seen us become a far quieter, far emptier School.
Do we choose doubt when faced with this emptiness? Or do we remind ourselves of an empty tomb, and the fullness that it promises? After all, Jesus’ tomb is far emptier than our School will ever be – and in the emptiness of the tomb we have hope.
In the emptiness of the tomb, Jesus promises to fill us up if we allow him.
In the emptiness of the tomb, we need not worry about the empty quad, the echoing classroom, the strangeness of remote learning.
In the emptiness of the tomb, we are assured of the living resurrected Jesus. And in trusting the emptiness of the tomb, we can be filled up with a lot more.
We can be filled with forgiveness, certainty and love.
With the forgiveness of our loving Father in heaven who would do anything to be in relationship with us: including sacrificing His son.
With the certainty that our society might be in lockdown, but our Father in heaven is not.
With the love of the empty tomb, that all authority in heaven and earth has been given to Jesus, and that he promises to be with us always, to the very end of the age.
‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?’