In Jerusalem, there are two places that are possible places where Jesus was buried and resurrected.
The first one is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. This is the place where Helena, the mother of Emperor Constantine, decided to build a church when she said she discovered a burial site. This was built in the 4th century.
The second site is the Garden Tomb outside the walls of Jerusalem. It is near what the British Major-General Charles Gordon as Golgotha. Gordon, a Protestant was convinced when he read John 19:41, “At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid.” The Garden Tomb is a rock-cut tomb in Jerusalem unearthed in 1867. It is near Golgotha, and has a garden.
Amidst the discussion of where it really happened, what should matter to us is that these two tombs are empty. When we visited these two tombs, they are all empty. And for us Christians what is most important is the empty tomb.
What is the power of the Risen Christ? Let me share four things:
First, the Risen Christ empowered the women and the marginalized.
When almost all the disciples fled during the trial, suffering and execution of Jesus, the women were there for Him. After He died, the women – Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James and others – visited the grave for the purpose of putting the spices that they had prepared for the body of Jesus. The angels reminded them of what Jesus told them while He was with them in Galilee (Luke 24:6). This means that these women were there right from the start of Jesus’ ministry. And amidst the patriarchal society, Jesus chose the women to receive the good news of the resurrection. The women became the first messengers that Jesus is alive.
We, too, should see the women in the perspective of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Second, the Risen Christ empowered the first century Christians to share the Gospel of Salvation in Jesus Christ.
When the disciples received the Great Commission they followed it. They knew that the Great Commission comes from the highest authority. Jesus, the one who resurrected from the dead, has given them the Great Commission. We, too, should be empowered by this.
Third, The Risen Christ empowered the disciples to organize the church.
The church was not organized if not for the resurrection of Jesus. The words of Jesus that says “upon this rock I will build my church” will just be empty words without the resurrection.
There is something amazing and strange in Acts 28:30-31 that says, “For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ—with all boldness and without hindrance!” The verses have no ending, no finality. Why is that so?
The Book of Acts has no closure so that we could be part of it. Each of us should write our own chapters. Let us live a kind of life in which we are living in the Book of Acts.
Fourth, the Risen Christ can empower each one of us to have a new beginning.
Genesis is a Greek word that means beginning. But in Hebrew it is Resheet. The Israelites have a feast they call the Day of the Firstfruits or “Yom Resheet” in Hebrew. It literally means the Day of the Beginning. According to Leviticus 23:10-11, this feast is celebrated on the day after the Sabbath.
Do you know what happened on the day of the resurrection of Jesus? It was Yom Resheet – the Day of the Firstfruits. Paul affirmed this when he wrote 1 Corinthians 15:20 – “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.”
And do you know what is amazing on April 21, 2019 – the Resurrection Sunday in our calendar? On the same exact day in Israel, the Israelites celebrated the Day of the Firstfruits in Israel.
We, too, can have a new beginning in Jesus Christ.
Rev. Francis Neil G. Jalando-on
Office of Communications
Central Philippine University