March 22, 2008

As Secure as You Can

Matthew 27:62-65

“Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.”
Matthew 27:65


A smile comes to my face when I read these words: “Make the tomb as secure as you know how.” What were the authorities afraid of? That Jesus might rise from the dead?

History has seen all kinds of religious and political leaders. But all of them have died, and their graves are scattered throughout the world. I have seen the gravesite of John F. Kennedy in Washington, D.C. He is dead. In Moscow you can view the remains of Lenin in an airtight, glass casket. Lenin is dead.

There are four major religions in the world built around a personality: Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and Christianity. If you could visit the grave of father Abraham, the patriarch of Israel and Judaism, you would find it occupied. If you visited the grave of Muhammad, the founder of Islam, in Mecca, you would find it occupied. The same would be true of Gautama Buddha.

Some years ago my wife and I visited Israel at Eastertime. We visited the tomb where Jesus was said to have been buried. When we walked into the tomb, hewn out of rock, I heard the voice of an Anglican pastor who led the Easter service say, “Whatever you remember about Israel, never forget that the tomb is empty.”

The grave of Jesus was occupied only briefly. And tomorrow we celebrate Easter.

“Death cannot keep its prey—Jesus, my Savior; he tore the bars away—Jesus, my Lord. Up from the grave he arose, with a mighty triumph o’er his foes … Hallelujah!” Amen.

About the author — Jerry Hoytema

Pastor Jerry Hoytema is a retired minister living in Ontario. In his retirement he has served several churches as an interim pastor. He and his wife, Winnie, have four children and 13 grandchildren.

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