Home Pastor's Corner . From the cross to a monument

. From the cross to a monument

In our English translations we read in Matthew 28:1 (ESV) “Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb.” Then we read in verse 8 So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples.” What did they run to tell His disciples? Well, the grave is empty; Jesus is not there He is risen. The context is clear and the meaning of the text is radical when we listen to the voice of the angel in verse 6 “He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.”

I remember visiting the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem on two occasions, and was filled with emotion as I realised that if this tomb was really the tomb of Christ as most Christians believe, then I was standing before the very place where my Lord and Saviour rose from the dead, and it is because of this very place that I live.

I believe however that Matthew wants to present us with more than a tomb when He talks about our risen Saviour. In the Greek language Matthew uses the word (taphos) which means a ‘burial place or tomb or a grave or a sepulchre’, a place where you would expect to find a dead body or bones. However in verse 8 Matthew does not use the word (taphos), I believe he cleverly chooses another word that says so much more. In verse 8 he uses the word (mnymeiou) which when translated to English has a slightly different meaning than simply a grave or tomb. Mnemeion {mnay-mi'-on} means any visible object for preserving or recalling the memory of any person or thing – a memorial, monument, specifically, a sepulchral monument. Such monuments are normally erected for unknown soldiers or soldiers who died in the battle whose bodies were not retrieved.

Yes, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to a tomb, but they left a monument. I believe that as Christians we must do away with the crucifixes we wear around our necks and we must replace it with a cross and an open tomb joined in design, because without the monument, Christianity does not exist and our faith is in vain. He died for our salvation, He rose for our justification, He is not only the author of our faith, He is also the finisher of our faith. We serve a risen Saviour, and while the cross is the place where He died for our sins, the tomb is what validated His death as the Messiah. Paul writes in Romans 5:8-10 (ESV) 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.”

I present to you therefore on this Easter Sunday more than a tomb, I present to you a monument erected for a body that could not be shown, because He rose and is alive and Head of His church, and He has ascended on high and is preparing a place for us, and He will come again to fetch all those who have a relationship with Him who died, but also who rose again.

May our prayer on this day be: “thank you for the cross Lord, thank you for the price you paid, thank you for an empty tomb, a monument, you rose that I might live…, Worthy is the Lamb, seated on the throne, crown You now with many crowns, You reign  victorious, High and lifted up, Jesus Son of God, the Darling of heaven crucified, a monument He left, a monument He left, a monument for me.”

 

Join us at the monument with the glorious victory song: "See, what morning ............Christ is risen".