On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.” So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb. They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first; he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in. When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place. Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed. For they did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead.
When Peter and John heard from Mary Magdalene that the tomb was empty, they got up and ran in full sprint to the tomb the check-out the scene for themselves. They were at-risk for arrest and persecution; and, they had just seen what that persecution could look like given what had happened to their Messiah, Jesus. John was there in-person at the crucifixion and Peter was there in-person to deny Christ three (3) times at Jesus’ judgement. But, both had fled for their lives in the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus was arrested. They ran away from Him in His darkest hour in this world. They ran away to sustain their lives. Now, assuming Jesus’ resurrection, they ran with that same vigor, but, this time, they were not thinking about dying if there were soldiers at the tomb – they were running towards life and Eternal salvation. Jesus had told them throughout the Gospels about how He had to be betrayed, turned-over to His accusers, and be put to death – even the death on the cross. The empty tomb represented the start of putting the last Piece of the puzzle together. It represented everything to them. Too often, we run away from our battles; from our demons. We are afraid to Witness for Jesus in our lives – in our neighborhoods, in our schools, at our jobs, in our homes, etc. We need to run towards the Life that is promised to all of us – a Life that was born from the empty tomb. We needn’t fear about the “soldiers” or the accusers. God will protect, love, and shelter us in His way(s). If you have been running away from God…from Jesus – even if you’ve been running for years – it’s time to stop where you are, turn around, and start running back Home. To Him. May this Easter Season be a reminder to us all of the empty tomb, of God’s promise to the entire world, and of how much Jesus loves us.