John's gospel tells us that Nicodemus had hastily wrapped Jesus' body in linen with 75 pounds of spices before his burial. The women may have felt that quantity was not the same as quality, or maybe they did not see what exactly Nicodemus and Joseph had done (they were members of the ruling body, after all); anyway, they came with spices of their own at the first opportunity after the Sabbath. They found the stone over the mouth of the burial cave had been rolled away; and when they entered, they found no body (v.3), only the strips of linen (v.12). Had Jesus' body been stolen? But if so, why unwrap it first?
As they were wondering what had happened, two 'men' (obviously angelic) suddenly appeared and assured them that Jesus had risen from the dead. They reminded the women of words Jesus himself had spoken (Luke 9:22). Then they sent the women to tell the apostles - but since the witness of women in those days counted for nothing, the apostles did not believe them. Peter decided to go and investigate; he found the cloths but did not see the 'men'. (Later on in the chapter it appears he did meet Jesus himself later that day, but that meeting was obviously private, for we are told nothing else about it.)
Our reading ends with Peter wondering what had happened. (He seems still to doubt the women's story.) He is like so many of us, who doubt the stories of eyewitnesses to events outside our experience. Yet what other explanation of these events is possible, other than that Jesus has risen from the dead?
If Jesus had risen from the dead, that surely has to be the most significant event in human history. It shows the truth of his teaching and of his claims: he was and is the Son of God, who taught the truth about God and about how to live. It shows that he has conquered death; and that if he had indeed carried our sins on the cross, those sins had been dealt with and no longer constituted a barrier between us and God, or a barrier to eternal life. His call to believe in him and follow him cannot be ignored!
ISSUES AND QUESTIONS
1) Why is Jesus' resurrection different from miracles like the raising of Jairus' daughter (Luke 8:49-56)?
2) What does it mean for us?
IDEAS FOR MEETINGS
Tell the group about a pleasant surprise you have had.
Celebrate Jesus' resurrection with music, song, games, food and drink, prayer and praise!