Speaking of Life 5020 | Visiting Our Tombs
As you know, each of the four Gospels recounts the story of Jesus’ resurrection, each from the author’s perspective. The general story is the same, but some accounts include details that are left out in others. However, one thing each story has in common is how it begins. All four Gospels begin the story of the resurrection, ironically, with a visit to a tomb.
That tomb turns out to be empty of course, setting the stage for the rest of the story. But I’m glad the Gospel writers were inspired to include the visits to the tomb. Because even though I know Jesus has been raised to life, I still feel the need to visit some tombs.
I think we all visit our tombs in one way or another. Many will literally visit a particular tombstone as part of grieving and honoring a lost loved one. There are two specific graveyards in the community where I grew up where most of my relatives are resting. I typically go with my mother a couple of times a year to freshen up the flowers and dust off the dirt, but we know in our spirit that it is more than a maintenance visit. Some choose to never visit a grave but find other ways to deal with their loss. In one way or another, we all visit our tombs.
But why? Is it not to grieve what we have lost? Do we not need to recount the cherished times we once had with loved ones? Well, I believe so. Tombstones are concrete symbols of memories we want to be restored.
There are other losses we also want to be restored that may not be marked by a tombstone. Maybe some of us are recounting times of good health or companionship that now seem unattainable. Or perhaps you are recounting freedoms that you no longer have. It’s probably safe to say that most of us have a few tombstones we visit every day.
But Jesus’ empty tomb changes everything. He rose from the tomb, and he lives. Because of this, our visits to our tombs are intertwined with his resurrection, which gives us hope. He doesn’t walk past our tombs, but he visits them with us to restore what we have lost. Because of Jesus, we can visit our tombs to grieve in hope. Like those visiting the tomb in the Gospel stories, we too come to find that all the tombs we visit are empty. Our tombstones now mark what the Lord will restore and redeem. We can visit them, not just to recount what we have lost, but to recount what the Lord has done through his resurrection.
Here’s a Psalm to remember for your next visit to a tomb:
“The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.
Glad songs of salvation are in the tents of the righteous:
“The right hand of the Lord does valiantly, the right hand of the Lord exalts, the right hand of the Lord does valiantly!”
I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the Lord.”
Psalm 118:14-17 (ESV)
The resurrection we celebrate today is one of the glorious “deeds of the Lord.”
I hope your Easter celebration will be a time of hope and joy as we are reminded once again of our Risen Lord and his steadfast love that endures forever. He is risen. Indeed, he is risen!
I’m Greg Williams, Speaking of Life.