April 10, 2012
“He is not here; he has risen!…” — Luke 24:6 (NIV)
The highlight of each of my 12 trips to the Holy Land was the visit to the Garden Tomb.
Situated across from the Damascus gate in Jerusalem, is this beautiful, serene walled garden.
On entering, the guide will first lead you to a small, covered amphitheater.
Standing on the top seat you will see a bus stop. To the right is the Wall of Jerusalem. To the left of that is a hill shaped like a skull. That is Golgotha, Calvary, where Jesus was crucified.
The guide will continue to explain why they believe this is the place of Jesus’ burial. He will then bring you around the garden and finally pause in front of an opening that has been cut into the rock.
A modern door has been built and on it are these words, “He is not here, for He is risen”.
Indeed, these were the words an angel spoke to the weeping women who went to the tomb early on the third morning.
“…they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.” “He is not here, but He has risen!”
What wonderful news! Jesus had told His disciples that “…He must go to Jerusalem…and be killed, and be raised up on the third day.” But at that time they did not believe Him.
After the resurrection Peter entered the tomb, “saw the linen wrappings only, and he went away to his home, marveling…”
Yesterday, the Church celebrated the greatest day in the Christian calendar! The Resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is the pivot of the Christian faith.
As the apostle Paul expressed, “…thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:57)
The whole chapter speaks of the victory over death!
As the chorus of an old hymn says,
He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and He talks with me along life’s narrow way.
He lives, He lives, salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives: He lives within my heart.
Coming from an Asian culture, the thought of a grave is not welcome. People avoid talking about, and going to a cemetery unless necessary. But I loved being there because it reminded me that “I serve a risen Saviour, He’s in the world today; I know that He is living, Whatever men may say; I see His hand of mercy, I hear His voice of cheer, And just the time I need Him. He’s always near.”
In the last group I led, something interesting happened. At the end of the service at the Garden Tomb, one of the young men got up and proposed to his intended. He had pre-planned it, and chose this place so when his fianc?e is asked about the place of the proposal, she can tell about Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. How beautiful! How significant!
What about you? How does your life proclaim that “He is not here, for He is risen”? Proclaim it today!
Thought For The Week (TFTW) is contributed by Dr Koh Siang Kiang, Associate Professor (Christian Education) at the Singapore Bible College (SBC). She graduated from SBC and Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS), USA, and has served in various ministries for more than 35 years, including teaching at DTS. Dr Koh has been with SBC for the last 10 years, and has a passion for people and teaching the Word of God. She also loves to make the Bible come alive by leading tours to the Holy Land, and has led 12 such trips. To help her relax, Dr Koh likes to cook and cross-stitch.