After resting on the Sabbath after Jesus’ death, the women return to the tomb to anoint His body (Luke 24:1-12). But there is no body! Confused (4), they are frightened by men (angels) who explain that Jesus told them all this. “Remember how He told you” (6)—and as they remember, they rush back t tell the others, who also don’t believe. Peter goes to check it out himself and leaves marveling (12). It is notable that every disciple here is caught off-guard. They are “perplexed” (4), “frightened” (5), “did not believe” 11), and are left “marveling” (12).
The empty tomb is not expected. There is no vigil, no sea of witnesses, no “told-you-so”s. They must be reminded of what Jesus said—and even then they struggle to believe.
There is comfort in this. It puts to rest the idea that they made this story up. Even the Jewish leaders have a better handle on it than the apostles (Matthew 27:63-66). It is a reminder that Jesus’ words don’t rely on our understanding to be true. Real is real—whether we see it or not.
The empty tomb is something we would not dare to hope for after such an awful death. Yet it is the ultimate statement that the ugliness of this world will not last forever—that there is a happy ending still in store after death.