Racing to the Empty Tomb

Race to the Tomb peters-face

In his painting of Peter and John racing to the tomb (John 20:3-10), Eugene Burnand (1850-1921), captures their determination and urgency. I see in this painting not only these two historical figures, but also the church, even our own fellowship. In the close-up, Peter is wide-eyed and his brow is furrowed. His mind is at work as he hurries along, perhaps thinking about all that has happened and now he has heard this report about an empty tomb. He looks worried to me, but soon that worry will gave way to wonder! The women- Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome are told by the young man (presumably, an angel) to go, tell His disciples and Peter (Mark 16:1-7). We might even read it …the disciples especially Peter. Just a few days before, Peter had denied that he even knew Jesus (Mark 14:66-72). These are the ones who cannot stay awake and watch with Him in Gethsemene. These are the ones who deserted Him. They let Him down. They were not there when He needed them. They were weak when they should have been strong. They were cowards when they should have been courageous. And Jesus wants them to know that He is risen! And now they are hurrying.

It is important for us to be quiet and still before God because His grace contains all the power we need for living (Ps.37:7, 46:10, 2Peter1:2-3), and there are times, too, we are hurrying along. And, figuratively speaking, the Scriptures call us to be in a “hurry.” In Titus 2:14 we are told that Jesus gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good! Whether you are rushing to worship or to work or some appointment – I hope wherever you are going – you are inspired by the same news that caused John and Peter to race to the tomb, so that however weak you have been, however much this world has made you a coward, you might experience His strength and courage and know that such character and even more  is now ours through faith. And may all your worries – by His grace –  give way to wonder! Jesus wants you to know that He is risen!

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