Luke 24:5-6a-Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen! NKJV
They crucified our Savior on the tree and laid Him in a tomb. Everyone thought it was over with. That was the end of the story! But we know differently. While His body lay in the tomb, He was busy dealing with the devil, himself!
And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.Colossians 2:15 NKJV
That’s right! While the disciples were mourning His loss and hiding from the Jewish leaders, Jesus was spoiling principalities and powers and making an open show of them. This is the language of victory!
Paul, as a Roman citizen had probably seen his fair share of triumphs and used this language to describe what happened in the spirit world between Jesus and the spirits of darkness.
During the Roman empire, triumphs were a procession that honored the god Bacchus. When a major battle was won and the war was ended as a result of that battle, a triumph was held. The man who had won the battle would be at the front of the processional that led through the streets of the city on the way to the temple. Following in the procession were the animals to be sacrificed, the spoils of war, and the prisoners that were captured. When they arrived at the temple the sacrifices were offered and the prisoners were slain.The Encyclopedia Brittanica, https://www.britannica.com/topic/triumph-ancient-Roman-honour
Between the time that Jesus gave up the ghost and the empty tomb, victory was being paraded before the throne of God! The enemy and his principalities and powers were conquered through the shedding of the Blood of Jesus, and while they were thinking it was all over, He was doing His victory parade.
Isaiah uses similar language about His death being a time of obtaining the spoil and having greatness and honor bestowed on Him:
Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong, because He poured out His soul unto death, and He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.Isaiah 53:12 NKJV
A time of victory, not defeat! And it wasn’t over! The women went to the tomb that He had been buried in and yet He was not there! Angels were sitting in the tomb waiting to share the good news:
“Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen!Luke 24:5b-6a NKJV
He got up! Just as He said He would! He was raised from the state of death and mortality into immortality! What they thought was the end for them, had become the beginning of all things new! And yet, they still did not believe.
It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them, who told these things to the apostles. And their words seemed to them like idle tales, and they did not believe them.Luke 24:10-11 NKJV
Idle tales? Seriously? Jesus had told them that He would die and on the third day He would be raised from the dead, and they thought this was an idle tale that Jesus was alive!
Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.Luke 24:25-27 NKJV
Paul goes into detail about Jesus’ death and resurrection and the people who saw Him:
For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.1 Corinthians 15:3-8 NKJV
It was a glorious day when Jesus got up out of the grave. It’s imperative that we, as Christians, believe in the truth of this event for all that we hold dear to us is wrapped in His resurrection:
But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.1 Corinthians 15:13-19 NKJV
I know I’m heavy on the scriptures in this blog! It’s not enough to think of an empty tomb! We need to understand that the significance of the empty tomb is the realization that He has truly risen. He’s alive!
I leave you with this thought: do you really believe that? I was in a professional development with my colleagues. We were given an icebreaker that held a question: If you could go back and speak to someone who was dead, who would you go back and talk with? My colleague came to me for that question believing that I would say Jesus and was surprised when I gave him another name. I responded to his surprise by telling him that Jesus isn’t dead! Glory Hallelujah! And that’s the gospel truth!
A time of victory! A time of hope! If you know Him as Savior, you are already rejoicing in this truth. If He is still just a historical persona or someone you are interested in, allow Him to become so much more so that you too can experience this blessed hope. Wonderful Jesus!