The Cloud of Witnesses
Former title Lessons From the People of the Bible
Lesson 4: Peter – Run To The Tomb!
Look at the evidence!
Peter and John knew Jesus had been taken down from the Cross and laid in the tomb. They knew He had died. Jesus was dead. His body had been taken down from the Cross and then carried by Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus and buried in the new tomb on Joseph’s property. The Authorities had asked for the Tomb to be sealed in some way and guards set over it to stop anyone stealing the body.
However, Mary Magdalene had come and told Peter and John that the Tomb was empty. She had gone there with spices to embalm the body. But on arriving at the tomb, she found it was too late – the body had gone.
Peter ran towards the tomb. He was in a hurry to find out for himself what had really happened, because Mary’s report seemed very strange. Why would anyone want to steal the body? What had happened to the guards?
And Mary had said that strictly speaking the tomb was NOT empty! Sure the body had gone – was missing – but there was something in the tomb! The grave clothes that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head and body were still in the tomb! Peter just had to see that! He had to try and work out what it all meant and the best place to start was where he had last seen the body and then try and make sense of Mary’s report.
He came to the place and went straight in. No hanging around – straight up to the ‘problem’. And there it was or rather there they were. The grave clothes.
They were lying just as if the body was there but were ‘collapsed’ on the stone shelf. So the Body had not been stolen. It had mysteriously ‘disappeared’. No one in their right mind would have stolen a naked dead body! Why take off the grave clothes if you were stealing it? You would leave traces of fingerprints on the clothes. If you took the burial clothes off, why would you leave them, and more particularly, why would you leave them lying just as if the body was there?
It didn’t make sense. The only thing that made sense, however strange it was, was that Jesus must have left the tomb of His own freewill and under His own power.
Peter would say to us today...
It’s O.K. to have doubts. I had doubts, so I went to the tomb and saw the evidence. You can trust what I say – I am an eyewitness to the truth. I saw an empty tomb – except for the grave clothes – and later saw Jesus ‘in the flesh’! You can trust the evidence, too!
Father, I am so grateful that my faith in You is based upon Truth. Not on someone else’s ideas nor is it based upon ‘wishful thinking’ but solidly grounded upon the Truth. Thank You that it is NOT about rules and regulations but a relationship with You, through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, Your Son and My Saviour. Amen.
2 Peter 16-21; Hebrews 1:1-9; Colossians 1:15-23.
Why is it so important that Christianity is based upon historical facts?
How is it that eyewitness accounts of events can differ?
How can we help our friends be exposed to the Truth of the Bible? (What about inviting them to an Alpha Course?)