The empty tomb - that is the quintessential Easter story. Female and later male disciples going or running to the tomb and finding the stone rolled away with the tomb empty and hearing from angels about the resurrection.
Within the gospels, in their narratives, in their storylines that is the first time we hear about Jesus’ resurrection. And it absolutely makes sense. If resurrection – then we start with an empty tomb. First things should come first. - But they hardly ever do!
Theologians have known for centuries that the empty tomb story was quite a late arrival to the Easter narratives.
After Jesus’ horrific death, disciples started meeting with him again, and they were empowered by him, they were transformed by him, their view of the world completely changed.
That is how it started, but at the earliest moments they did not have language to speak about it. Even the use of the word resurrection was not automatic and instant. It took some time to settle.
By the time apostle Paul wrote to Corinthians around the year 50, the word resurrection was established. But Paul still did not know about the empty tomb.
The story of the empty tomb appeared for the first time about a generation later in the Gospel of Mark and quickly became the emblematic story of the resurrection as a highly evocative and powerful image.
And so, the empty tomb is the opening part of the Easter storyline, but the latest and youngest part of the Easter Message. And that is something you might not know about the Bible and Easter Faith.
On this Easter Sunday in our worship we will listen to this powerful and radical message of the Empty Tomb. Join us if you can.