"The stone at the tomb of Jesus was a pebble to the Rock of Ages inside."
JESUS HAS RISEN FROM THE DEAD
Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don't know where they have put him!"
So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus' head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)
Then the disciples went back to their homes, but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus' body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
They asked her, "Woman, why are you crying?"
"They have taken my Lord away," she said, "and I don't know where they have put him."
At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
"Woman," he said, "why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?"
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him."
Jesus said to her, "Mary."
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, "Rabboni!" (which means Teacher).
Jesus said, "Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, 'I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'"
Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: "I have seen the Lord!" And she told them that he had said these things to her.
NIV Bible Study Notes:
The stone was not rolled away from the entrance to the tomb so Jesus could get out. He could have left easily without moving the stone. It was rolled away so others could get in and see that Jesus was gone.
People who hear about the resurrection for the first time may need time before they can comprehend this amazing story. Like Mary and the disciples, they may pass through four stages of belief. (1) At first, they may think the story is a fabrication, impossible to believe. (2) Like Peter, they may checkout the facts and still be puzzeled about what happened. (3) Only when they encounter Jesus personally are they able to accept the fact of the resurrection. (4) Then as they commit themselves to the RISEN Lord and devote their lives to serving him, they being to understand fully the reality of his presence with them.
The graveclothes were left as if Jesus had passed right through them. The headpiece was still rolled up in the shape of a head, and it was at about the right distance from the wrappings that had enveloped Jesus' body. A grave robber couldn't possibly have made off with Jesus body and left the linens as if they were still shaped around it.
Jesus' resurrection is the key to the Christian faith. Why? Just as he said, Jesus rose from the dead. We can be confident, therefore that he will accomplish all he has promised. Jesus bodily resurrection show us that the living Christ, not a false prophet or imposter, is ruler of God's eternal kingdom. We can be certain of our own resurrection because Jesus was resurrected. Death is not the end--there is future life. The divine power that brought Jesus back to life is now available to us to bring our spiritually dead selves back to life. The resurrection is the basis for the church to witness to the world.