He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
Jesus did not only appear after his death, as ghosts are said to have appeared, startling nervous people in haunted places. His tomb was left vacant. His body had disappeared. This is an important fact in regard to the Resurrection.
I. THERE IS A NEGATIVE AS WELL AS A POSITIVE EVIDENCE FOR THE RESURRECTION. The positive evidence is in the appearance of Christ to his disciples; the negative evidence is in the empty tomb. If Jesus had not risen from the dead, men could have pointed to his sealed tomb, could even have torn it open and shown the corpse within. Why did none of the enemies of Jesus do this? No effort appears to have been made to take this simple means of confuting the preaching of the apostles. Yet it was manifestly in the interest of the Sadducean rulers of the Jews to have followed this course. But if the body of our Lord was not to be found, what had become of it? His enemies could have had no interest in hiding it - quite the contrary. M. Renan has suggested that Mary Magdalene carried the body away and hid it. Even if we can think the daring deed practically possible, psychologically it is impossible. Such an ugly fraud would certainly have been found out; for still the body would need to be disposed of. But in their despair none of the disciples were in the mood to invent a fiction of a resurrection. Their sudden transformation from despair to joy and confidence cannot be accounted for on the hypothesis of a fraud. The very lameness of this extraordinary theory, considered as the best that a great imaginative critic can devise, is a proof of the reality of the event he would fain find some means of explaining away.
II. CHRIST HAS RISEN IN THE FULNESS OF HIS POWER AND LIFE. It may seem to us of little moment that he should have brought his body out of the tomb. If he himself still lived, if his soul was still alive, could we not dispense with his body? Here we reason about a region of which we have no knowledge. We do not know how a disembodied spirit can act; we do not know what necessity there may be for some bodily instrument to enable it to communicate with other beings. It is enough to know the fact that Christ's full resurrection life was corporeal as well as spiritual. For us the important truth is that it was and is now a perfect, wakeful, and energetic life. Jesus is no dim shade flitting through the abodes of the dead; he is no sleeping soul like those of our blessed dead who, as some think, sleep in him awaiting their resurrection. He has risen into his perfect life. He is with us now, more truly living than during his earthly ministry.
III. CHRIST'S RESURRECTION IS A TYPE OF THE CHRISTIAN'S RESURRECTION. The physical circumstances must be different in the ease of other people whose bodies have long since mouldered to dust, perished by fire, melted away in the sea, or been devoured by wild beasts and cannibals. But the fact of a full and perfect life is what is alone important. Jesus, the firstfruits from the dead, is the promise of this life for his people. They who sleep in him will awake in his likeness. - W.F.A.
Parallel VersesKJV: He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.