The last line of today’s gospel says a lot about the Christian faith:
“Till this moment they had still not understood the scripture, that He must rise from the dead.”
Even His most fervent followers had a hard time grasping what Jesus told them about His calling and what must happen to Him. Then they saw the empty tomb and got it. Peter said so himself:
“I now really understand’, he said, ‘that God has no favorites….he has ordered us to proclaim this to his people and to bear witness that God has appointed him to judge everyone, alive or dead.”
The message of Easter is not only that Christ died and rose to save us, but that we must all die to our old selves, believe in what the gospel reveals and live that belief for all to witness so they can do the same. We must be like the first witnesses who saw the empty tomb and had their eyes opened to what Jesus was telling them all along. God is alive in the realm of the unseen, and in his tomb, Jesus left us all the keys to that realm:
“Since you have been raised up to be with Christ, you must look for the things that are above, where Christ is, sitting at God’s right hand….because you have died, and now the life you have is hidden with Christ in God. …But when Christ is revealed, and he is your life, you, too, will be revealed with him in glory.”
The message of Easter is that earth is our tomb unless we rise above it and find our new home in the Holy Spirit and share it with others.