Before Jesus came, people were expecting the Messiah to come and become a literal king of Israel, to free them from the physical powers and harm that were inflicted upon them. Then he came along and some people rejected him as a fraud, or because he threatened their way of living. For others he filled in the blanks, changed everything they thought they knew. For those people, there were lots of great moments that reinforced their new beliefs. There was some confusing talk about the future. Then he was killed. His body lay dead, like any other mortal–much ado about nothing.
I imagine the letdown and confusion they felt. It must have been the ultimate slap in the face to his followers. His body was in the tomb for three days. I wonder how many hours or days it took them to re-frame their understanding of the Messiah into the fact that he had died. We know that on the third day, when those ladies went to prepare his body, they weren’t expecting the tomb to be empty. But I imagine that they still had that tiny bit of hope that the story wasn’t really over.
Believer or not, I expect that everyone who has brushed up with mortality can relate to how the followers felt during those three days that Jesus’ dead body lay in the tomb. They had been flying high with the clarity and freedom He brought. He took away the laws they hadn’t even realized they were chained to and opened their eyes to the spirit behind the law. And suddenly overnight he had been killed. His enemies seemed to have won. Their worlds crashed in around them and everything they thought they knew was wrong. It didn’t make any sense and there was no one left on earth who could clarify it for them. Haven’t we all been there? Don’t we all dream of being able to rewind time to the way it was before that moment? Then finally, we think we get some resolution. We stop dreaming of things like that, but He surprises us in better ways. We go to do the hardest thing ever, like anointing his body, and instead find an empty grave.
He is risen!