The granite mausoleum stands on a hill overlooking the old homestead on the 20,000-acre ranch. Inside, the twin crypts hold the remains of the historic rancher and his wife. As I put my hand on the doorknob, an odd tingle went down my spine. The door literally creaked and squeaked as I pulled it open and entered the musty smelling stone room. Dead for decades, their bodies lay undisturbed, encased in polished stone.
As Jesus stood outside the tomb of Lazarus, the onlookers were astonished when the Master said, "Open the door!"“Remove the stone” (John 11:39). I suspect that it creaked and squeaked as the stone was rolled away unleashing the potent smell of death and decay. At the threshold of the tomb, Jesus called, “Lazarus, come out” (John 11:43). Lazarus, dead for four days, obeyed. Tightly wrapped in burial cloth, Lazarus, born-again, wiggled and shuffled to the doorway. “Unwrap him and let him go” (John 11:44), Jesus commanded.Defeating death is Jesus’ specialty.
On another occasion, Jesus went to the home of Jairus. Just outside the home mourners were making a racket, wailing and crying at the death of the twelve-year-old daughter of the religious leader. Taking only Peter, James, John and the parents, Jesus went through the door and into the home. Maybe the door creaked and squeaked. There, on the bed, lay the lifeless little body. Without any hocus pocus, Jesus “took the child by the hand and said to her, ‘Little girl, I say to you, get up’. Immediately the girl got up and began to walk” (Mark 5:41–42). Defeating death... He’s good at it.
Jesus was crucified, died, and was buried on Friday. Three days later, on Sunday, “very early in the morning... they went to the tomb at sunrise. They were saying to one another, ‘Who will roll away the stone from the entrance to the tomb for us?’ Looking up, they noticed that the stone—which was very large—had been rolled away” (Mark 16:2-4).
Moments earlier, there had been “a violent earthquake, because an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and approached the tomb. He rolled back the stone and was sitting on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. The guards were so shaken by fear of him that they became like dead men” (Matthew 28:2–4).
Can you imagine the sounds associated with a violent earthquake? Did rocks split? Did walls collapse? Was there a creaking and squeaking, a crashing as the door to Jesus’ tomb was opened?
Two-thousand years later, the tomb that couldn’t hold Jesus is still there. It’s still empty.
An odd tingle went down my spine as I stooped to enter Jerusalem’s famous hand-hewn tomb. To my right was the very place where Jesus once lay, the spot where Jesus sprang to life, defeating death forever and proving that there is life after life!
All Scripture quotations, except as otherwise noted, are from
Holman Bible Publishers’ Christian Standard Bible.