The women have seen where Joseph laid Jesus’ body. They plan to pay their respects to their beloved master by anointing the body after the Sabbath.
So early in the morning on the first day of the week, they arrive. To their shock, they see that the stone is removed! They look in – there is no body! No Jesus!
“What’s happened?” they ask. “Where is he? Has someone stolen His body? Why would they do that?”
Suddenly two dazzlingly bright men appear – they are angels, we are told in verse 23. Now the women are completely overcome. They fall on the ground before these majestic creatures. The angels say:
“Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, 7 that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” Luke 24:5-7
The angels say, “Jesus is alive! Why should He hang around a tomb? Don’t you remember? He told you Himself that he would be betrayed, be killed – and would rise. It has all happened just as He said!”
The women do remember what Jesus had said. Luke records such sayings in 9:22, 44, and 18:31-34. Indeed, Luke commented in 18:34 that the disciples
“understood none of these things. This saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said.”
They couldn’t imagine their king dying. And so they couldn’t hear the promise of the resurrection.
The women go back to the disciples, and tell them the news – but the disciples don’t believe them. They are in despair. They have been hurt – and they won’t listen to possible good news for fear of being let down again.
Have you been in such situations yourself? When you won’t even listen to news that could bring you out of despair?
Peter, however, must check out the report for himself. Verse 12 reports that he runs to the tomb. He doesn’t see the angels, but he notices something the women didn’t talk about: The grave clothes! Joseph had wrapped the naked body of Jesus in linen cloths. If someone had stolen the body, they surely would have carried Him away still in those cloths. But Peter sees the cloths lying there. There is no body. But the wrappings are present. What kind of thief would unwrap the body before stealing it?
Peter leaves the tomb confused, marveling at what has happened, and wondering: What does it all mean?