An Empty Tomb
DID the Great Teacher really die on the torture stake?— Yes, he did. Many persons saw it happen. Some even saw when a soldier came up and jabbed a spear into Jesus’ side. They saw the blood run out. Yes, the Great Teacher was dead.
Later, a man named Joseph went to the Roman governor. Joseph believed in the Great Teacher. He said: ‘Will you let me take Jesus’ body down from the stake and bury it?’ The governor said: ‘Yes. Take it.’ So Joseph carried Jesus’ body to a garden where there was a tomb. Do you know what a tomb is?—
It is a place where dead bodies are put. Well, Jesus’ body was put inside the tomb. Then a big round stone was rolled in front of the door of the tomb. The tomb was closed.
Jesus was dead. But Jesus had told his disciples that God would make him alive again. When? Jesus had said: ‘On the third day after I die.’ Is that what happened? Let’s see.
It is very early in the morning, before sunrise. So it is still dark. Some soldiers are there guarding the tomb. The chief priests sent them to do that. Why? To keep Jesus’ disciples away. But now something exciting happens.
Suddenly the ground begins to shake. In the darkness there is a flash of light. Look! It is an angel of Jehovah! The soldiers are so frightened they cannot move. The angel goes to the tomb. He rolls the stone away. Look inside. The tomb is empty!
Yes, Jehovah God has brought Jesus back to life. But He has made Jesus alive with a body like the one Jesus had before he came to earth. Do you remember what kind of body that was?— It was a body like the angels have, a spirit body.—1 Peter 3:18.
Can you see a spirit body?— No. So, if an angel wanted people to see him he had to make himself a body like ours. Then people could see him. Afterward the angel would disappear.
Now the sun is coming up. The soldiers have gone away. And some women who loved Jesus are coming to the tomb. They are asking themselves: ‘Whom will we get to roll that heavy stone away for us?’ But when they look, the stone has already been rolled away. And see, the tomb is empty! Jesus’ dead body of flesh is gone! One of the women right away runs off to tell some of Jesus’ apostles.
The other women stay by the tomb. They say: ‘Where could Jesus’ body be?’ Suddenly two men in flashing clothing appear. They are angels! They say to the women: ‘Why are you looking for Jesus here? He has been raised up. Go quickly and tell his disciples.’
Well, you can imagine how fast the women run! On the way a man meets them. Do you know who it is?— It is Jesus! He also says to the women: ‘Go and tell my disciples.’
The women are excited. They find the disciples and tell them: ‘Jesus is alive! We saw him!’
At first the disciples find this hard to believe. Still, they know the tomb is empty. Peter and John have been out there and seen that it is empty. The disciples want to believe that Jesus is alive again. But it seems too wonderful to be true. What will make them believe it?—
Later Jesus appears to some of those disciples. While two of them are walking along a road, Jesus starts walking with them. He talks to them and then disappears. He appears to Peter too.
Then later that same day many disciples are gathered in a room. The doors are locked, because they are afraid of the priests. Suddenly Jesus is right there in the room with them! Now they know the Great Teacher really is alive again. Imagine how happy they are!—Matthew 28:1-15; Luke 24:1-49; John 19:38–20:21.
After many days, Jesus leaves the earth and goes back to his Father in heaven. Soon the disciples start telling everyone that God raised Jesus up from the dead. Many persons believe and become disciples.
This makes the chief priests angry. They have the apostles arrested. They tell them: ‘Stop teaching the people these things!’ They even have the apostles beaten with a whip. Do they stop teaching the people? What would you have done?—
The apostles do not stop. They are not afraid now. They are even willing to die if they have to. They know that God made Jesus alive again. They saw Jesus after he was raised from the dead. They are sure that God can make them alive too if they die faithful to him.—Acts 1:3-11; 5:40-42.
How different they were from many people today! Some people think only about Easter rabbits and colored Easter eggs when they think about Jesus’ being raised up. But the Bible doesn’t say anything about Easter rabbits and eggs. It talks about serving God.
We can be like Jesus’ disciples. We can tell people what a wonderful thing God did when he made his Son alive again. We can obey God just as Jesus did. But what if we die because of obeying God, just as Jesus died?— We never need to be afraid. Jehovah can make us alive again under his righteous kingdom.