The Empty TombQUESTION: The empty tomb - Was it really empty?ANSWER:
The empty tomb was a subject especially noted by the Apostle John. In the 20th chapter of his account, John describes himself as the "other disciple" who ran ahead of Peter and reached the tomb first. Looking in, John saw "the strips of linen lying there" which had been the wrappings of Jesus' dead body (John 20:6). He describes, also, that the burial cloth which had been around Jesus' head was "folded up by itself, separate from the linen" (John 20:7).
John's description of the empty tomb gives details that are evidence of an eyewitness account. These were details that convinced John, himself, because he explains that "He saw and believed" (John 20:8). The small detail of the face cloth lying separate and folded implies the recognition of a deliberate, careful action. Inasmuch as Christ's body received life, He awoke and deliberately removed the cloth, folded it, and set it aside. John, the beloved disciple, recognized the simple details and thought them worthy of specific report.
Was the tomb entirely empty? No! Evidence remained of a living Christ, a risen Lord. The significance extends further, yet. Because the tomb was empty and Christ was raised to life in the body, believers count on the promise of a like glorious body. "Who by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body" (Philippians 3:21).
A body that defeats death and the curse of death is the inheritance of every believer. "And if the Spirit of him who raised Christ from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who lives in you" (Romans 8:11). The completion of salvation through Jesus Christ is to be saved entirely, so that even the body is immortal through "the power of an indestructible life" (Hebrews 7:16, 25). Even now, "we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies" (Romans 8:23).
Was the tomb really empty? No! It held the evidence of life from the dead - the hope of every believer. In that hope the Christian lives each day, though he may experience trials and hardship. Paul said, "We always carry about in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may be revealed in our body" (2 Corinthians 4:10). Even now the believer is being prepared for heaven in the hope of eternal life.