Read: Mark 16:1-8
As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. “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.
He Has Risen! He Is Not Here!
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
“Trembling and bewildered.” That’s how the Bible describes the women on that first Easter morning. And if we’d been there with them, we probably would have been a little shaky and confused too.
After all, the past several days weren’t what they had expected. These women came to Jerusalem with Jesus very much alive but watched as he was crucified. They saw him buried. They gathered spices to anoint his lifeless body. That’s not what they expected.
Early that morning, the women made their way to the tomb. They wondered how they’d get in. They asked each other who’d be able to help them. But when they got there, to their surprise, the giant stone had already been rolled away. Jesus’ grave was open. That’s not what they expected.
And when they set foot inside? There was a stranger, a young man in a white robe—an angel! He was sitting there, inside Jesus’ tomb, and he said: “Don’t be scared.” That’s not what they expected!
We can understand why they felt scared, upset, and confused. We would have felt the same way!
But there’s a much more important reason for their surprise and confusion. The angel told them, “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here.” What?! This was more shocking than Jesus’ crucifixion, his death, the open grave, or even the angel. The women saw Jesus die. They knew he was buried. And now he wasn’t here? He was alive? That’s not what they expected!
It’s not what we expect, either! When the hero in our favorite book or movie dies, we understand that they’re not coming back to life. When we go to the grave of a friend or loved one, we know their body will be there. And if we were there with the women that morning, we would have been just as shocked to hear that Jesus was alive, to see that his body was not there—because things like this just don’t happen!
Except that’s exactly what happened. Jesus did the unexpected. Jesus did the seemingly impossible. Jesus rose. Yes, he’d died, but death could not hold on to him. Yes, he’d been buried, but the tomb could not contain him. Jesus did what no one else has ever done: he defeated death itself! That’s the bewildering—but amazing and true—story of Easter.
And the best part of all? Jesus did it for you and me.
Dear Jesus, thank you for the amazing but true news of Easter: you live! Help me to trust this good news and to know that you did it for me! Amen.
The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.
Questions for Younger Children
- What did the women see in Jesus’ tomb?
- What happened to Jesus on Easter?
Questions for Elementary Age Children
- Imagine you were with the women when they saw that Jesus wasn’t in the tomb. How would you have felt? What would you have been thinking?
- What does Jesus’ resurrection from the dead tell you about his power?
Questions for Middle School and Above
- Recall one other time when angels brought news about Jesus. Why do you think God used angels to make these announcements?
- Why do you think the women were afraid and confused, instead of joyful and relieved?
Hymn: CW 152:1,2 – I Know that My Redeemer Lives
I know that my Redeemer lives;
What comfort this sweet sentence give!
He lives, he lives, who once was dead;
He lives, my ever-living Head!
He lives triumphant from the grave;
He lives eternally to save.
He lives all glorious in the sky;
He lives exalted there on high.