I’m very excited to again this week join a talented group of women who connect each Friday in an online, unedited flash mob free write based on a one-word prompt from our fearless leader Kate Motaung. My timer is set for 5 minutes; let’s see where the word “empty” takes me.
I’m not a Bible scholar and don’t know a thing about the Greek language, and it’s important to keep those facts in mind as I contemplate what happened when Mary Magdalene and, shortly thereafter, 2 of the disciples found when they arrived at Jesus’ tomb that Sunday morning so long ago.
According to the King James Version account in all 4 Gospels, Mary Magdalene and the disciples discovered that the stone had been rolled away from the mouth of the tomb, that “they” had “taken away the Lord” and He “was not there”.
In not one of those accounts does the Gospel writer say the tomb was empty!
And why would he? It wasn’t!
Yes, I know, I know. We’ve all heard all our lives that the tomb was empty. If you check many Bibles, you’ll find a subheading for this portion of the Scripture, and that subheading might even read “The Empty Tomb”.
But that’s not what the actual Scripture says. It merely says that Jesus was no longer in the tomb.
You may be shrugging right now and saying, “What’s the big deal? Jesus wasn’t there. What’s wrong with saying the tomb was empty?”
I think we can agree that that moment — the moment it is discovered Jesus’ body has been “taken away” and before the realization that he has risen of His own accord, is a very low, perhaps even the lowest point of Scripture.
And because we have so often heard and said “the tomb was empty”, we picture a barren place, a place devoid of God.
But it wasn’t. Because God — God the Father — is always with us. The Bible tells us that over and over again. When Mary Magdalene looked into the tomb, and when the disciples looked into the tomb, they were not alone. God was with them, just as he promises to be. He’s omnipresent, remember?
But again, why is that important?
Because we need to remember that even at this time when Christ’ own followers thought all was lost, God was there with them.
We need to reinforce the truth that no matter how bad things were for Jesus’ followers, no matter how alone they may have felt, God was there with them.
Because the same is true of us.