"He is not Here for He is Risen” – How to Find Everyday Hope in an Empty Tomb
The world is consumed with itself, and therefore crumbling inward as the days go on. But our hope isn’t in the world, rather the One who defeated death on our account and will return to take us home for eternity.
“He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.” – Matthew 28:6
Jesus’ death and resurrection are not only celebrated at Easter. Long before Jesus walked to the cross, Scripture tells of the hope we find in Him. His resurrection story began in the first notes of Scripture, and He is apparent throughout the entirety of the Bible. “‘He is risen’ means that Jesus was raised from the dead, and now is with God in heaven,” explains Christianity.com, “It means He has overcome death as those who believe in Him will have eternal life.” Everyday we wake carries divine purpose to serve as a channel of Christ’s love. The world is consumed with itself, and therefore crumbling inward as the days go on. But our hope isn’t in the world, rather the One who defeated death on our account and will return to take us home for eternity.
Where Is This Verse in the Bible?
“Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!” – Luke 24:5b-6a)
The Gospel of Mark also records, “‘Don’t be alarmed,’ he said, ‘You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him” (Mark 16:6-7). All four Gospels tell of the empty tomb, Jesus’ resurrection, and Mary Magdalene’s discovery of Jesus’ empty tomb. The Gospels differ slightly in the details included in their recording of the day’s events. “Luke includes a second angel,” the NIV Application Commentary explains, “but Matthew and Mark focus only on the one who speaks for both.” Luke and John both wrote some of the disciples ran to the tomb, Luke specifically mentioned Peter. John made a point to mention the disciples still did not understand the full scope of the Scriptures being fulfilled in Jesus’ resurrection.
Take into consideration the way in which John concluded his Gospel: “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written” (John 21:25). Through the Holy Spirit’s divine revelation through the writings of these apostles, we receive confirmation of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.
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When Did Jesus Say He Would Rise from Death?
“The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again.” – Mark 8:31
Jesus said He would rise from the dead. He spoke it Himself, as recorded by Matthew (Matthew 16:21; 17:23; 20:19), Luke (Luke 9:22) and Mark (Mark 8:31). Jesus also spoke of His death and resurrection indirectly (Matthew 12:39; 16:4; 21:42), and in conversation with others. “Two separate witnesses testify in two very different ways to Jesus’ statement during his lifetime that if his enemies destroyed the temple (of his body), he would build it again in three days (John 2:19; Mark 14:58; Matthew 26:61),” John Piper explains.
God’s plan from the beginning was to rescue us from sin. Isaiah 53 and Hosea 6:1-2 point towards the resurrection. The fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies of Jesus' life, death and resurrection is an important foundation of the Christian faith. It further reveals the character of our great God to keep His promises, His unsurpassable love for us, and the alive and active nature of Scripture as a means in which He communicates with us.
What Is the Context of the Phrase "He Is Not Here for He Is Risen"?
“The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.” (Matthew 28:5-7)
Mary Magdalene and Mary (Matthew 28:1) discovered Jesus’ tomb was empty the day after He had been crucified. Shocked and worried about what may have happened, Jesus’ teaching about this day was not the first thing to cross their minds. An angel provided comfort and clarity to them by telling them what had happened, and giving them their next steps.
It’s quite one thing to listen to teachings and believe, but another to experience their unfolding in the moment. Their reaction was pure joy, and in Matthew’s Gospel account they ran to do as the angel said. On their way to tell the disciples what had happened, “Jesus met them” (Matthew 28:9). He greeted them! Imagine their state of awe! Matthew wrote, “They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him” (Matthew 28:9).
The hope welling up in these women upon their discovery and reunion with their Messiah is linked to the wellspring of hope we find in Jesus everyday as we wake as sinners, forgiven and rescued by our salvation in Christ Jesus. “Do not be afraid,” Jesus assured them, “Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me” (Matthew 28:10).
Matthew wrote of a rumor purposefully spread to blame Jesus’ disappearance from the tomb on His own disciples, claiming they took His body. “And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day” (Matthew 28:15). Luke specifically mentioned Peter looking in the tomb, even holding the strips of linen, but not understanding what had happened. When Jesus met his disciples in Galilee, some doubted it was Him.
Often is our hope stands right in front of us, but we are too blind to see. In our search for concrete answers, we sometimes entertain believable rumors instead of placing our whole faith in the truth of God’s word. “While other stories will be concocted to try to cover up the truth (Matthew 28:11-15),” the NIV Application Commentary explains, “God’s word of revelation through the angel tells the real story—Jesus has indeed been raised from the dead.”
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How Does This Verse Solidify the Foundation of Christianity?
“Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God—the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David,” – Romans 1:1-3 NIV
Through the Holy Spirit’s divine revelation on Paul’s pen, Jesus’ identity is again confirmed. John chose to begin his Gospel account by stating Jesus was with God in the beginning, and through him all things were made (John 1:1-5). The author of Hebrews confirmed “Jesus is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). The empty tomb solidifies the foundation of Christianity. Jesus didn’t appear on the first page of the New Testament. He is present throughout the entirety of Scripture. His life, death, and resurrection not only fulfill Old Testament prophecies, but prove the great love of our Father in heaven to rescue us from the penalty of sin, which is death.
“The believers who saw the risen Christ with their own eyes and touched him with their hands spent the rest of their lives taking about the resurrection,” wrote Marshall Segal for DesiringGod.org. In Christ, we have access to God through prayer and His Word, through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit gifted to us by Christ, Himself. The One, True, Triune God is glorified through the empty tomb. Only He could execute such a miracle. The Author of Life, Defeater of Death, the very Breath of God. Through Christ, because of His death and resurrection, we find our salvation. Life within the love of Christ is full of God’s grace, forgiveness, mercy and compassion. When we walk out our lives in obedience to His will, as Jesus did all the way to the cross, we are promised joy and fulfillment.
What Hope Can Christians Find in This Biblical Truth today?
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the end of every age.” – Matthew 28:18-20
God created us in His image, with dignity and a purpose our enemy is constantly trying to distract us from. When sin succeeds, destruction abounds. We form idols, mistakenly believing we can find satisfaction in achievements, people, and material things. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross defeated death. We can now choose to embrace salvation in Christ and come to the Father for forgiveness of our sins, daily, embracing a new life in which we find true satisfaction.
Christ’s resurrection gives us hope for today, and for our future. Jesus will return again. He will right all wrongs and mend all hurts. Death will cease to exist, and we will go home to heaven with Him. “We can enjoy the stability of resurrection hope,” writes Mitch Chase for TGC, “because the promises of the world to come will never waver or fail.” When our daily circumstances are too hard to bare, we can submit them to God through Christ, knowing He hears and sees us, and that the pain and struggle of this world is temporary.
Prayer of Praise for the Empty Tomb
Abba, Father! Jesus, Savior! Spirit, Breath of God! One, True, Triune God! Glory up! Praise You for this day, which we walk out because of Your creative hand. Praise for the purposes You have for us today, and each day we wake to breathe on this earth. Jesus, in Your resurrection, we find hope for each day. In You we are given a supernatural strength, perspective, and joy that cannot be shaken or stolen. May our daily lives reflect our love for You, and serve as a channel of that love to everyone You have placed in our lives. Thank You for resurrection hope.
In Jesus’ Powerful Name We Pray,
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Meg writes about everyday life within the love of Christ as an author, freelance writer, and blogger at Sunny&80. Her first book, “Friends with Everyone,” is available on amazon.com. She earned a Marketing/PR degree from Ashland University but stepped out of the business world to stay at home and raise her two daughters. Besides writing, she leads a Bible Study for Women and serves as a Youth Ministry leader in her community. She lives in Northern Ohio with her husband, Jim, and two daughters.
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