I wonder whether a sign went up on the Monday after the first Easter Sunday. A sign simply advertising the availability of a grave. Maybe, something like this.
Tomb For Sale, one previous owner but hardly used, in excellent condition. Available due to previous occupant no longer needing the space. O.n.o. Contact Joseph for more details.
Most graves are only ever used once. People tend to stay dead but not Jesus. Each year I am amazed by the resurrection story and its impact on us today. You see without resurrection we just have a dead teacher, a good one but a dead one never the less. With resurrection we have a Living Lord who is still relevant today. The resurrection changes everything.
At the time of the early church miracles were often assigned to the myths about gods and demi-gods. No-one really believed in them and so a man resurrected was just as hard for people to believe as it is for people now.
The Apostle Paul experienced this when he tried telling the learned in Athens about Jesus and the resurrection. The concept was so alien to them that they thought he was telling them about two gods: Jesus and Anastasia (Greek for ‘Resurrection’). When Paul sought to correct them their reaction was to sneer (Acts 17:18-32). The same thing happened when Paul had a private chat with Festus and King Agrippa. Everything was rocking on until Paul said the Scriptures taught that the Messiah would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would bring the message of light to his own people and the Gentiles.
Festus simply says to Paul, ‘You are out of your mind, Paul!’ ‘Your great learning is driving you insane’ (Acts 26:24-25)
You see any mention of Jesus’ resurrection was regarded as hilarious or mad.
Even Christians in the early church had problems believing it. 1 Cor 15 shows Paul trying to convince them about the resurrection. If you read between the lines you see a man answering those who say the resurrection is too hard to handle and evangelism would be much easier without it. Paul answers – the heart of the gospel is resurrection.
So, maybe people are no different then as they are now. But at the heart of our faith is an empty tomb which may lead to us, like Paul, being accused of being out of our minds. But as we look at last Sunday at church we need to consider the evidence and embrace the greatest day in history. The tomb is empty and available. All serious offers considered!!