Jesus Rises from the Dead!
Very early in the morning on the first day of the week, the earth began to quake. An angel of the Lord came down from heaven and rolled away the stone from the tomb. Suddenly, in a burst of great light, Jesus arose from the dead! He shined brighter than the sun rising after a dark night. The soldiers cried out and ran away in fear.
Just after sunrise that morning, Mary Magdalene and some women went out to the place where they buried Jesus, so they could finish anointing Jesus’ body with oil.
To their great surprise, they saw that the tomb entrance was open. “The stone is rolled away!” they cried. They ran down to the tomb, but did not find the body of Jesus. Then an angel appeared, and told them, “Do not be afraid! I know you are seeking Jesus crucified. He is not here, for He is risen, just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay. Then go tell His disciples that He has been raised from the dead.”
The women left the tomb quickly, afraid yet overjoyed. They ran to tell the good news to Peter and the other disciples (Mt 28:1-10; Jn 20:1-10).
Waking Up From the Dead: The Empty Tomb of Jesus
What was it like for Jesus to wake up in the tomb? “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here but has risen” (Lk 24:5-6). The first element we encounter in the framework of the Easter events is the empty tomb. In itself it is not a direct proof of Resurrection; the absence of Christ’s body from the tomb could be explained otherwise (cf. Jn 20:13; Mt 28:11-15). Nonetheless the empty tomb was still an essential sign for all. Its discovery by the disciples was the first step toward recognizing the very fact of the Resurrection. This was the case, first with the holy women, and then with Peter (Lk 24:3, 12, 22-23). The disciple “whom Jesus loved” affirmed that when he entered the empty tomb and discovered “the linen cloths lying there,” “he saw and believed” (Jn 20:2, 6, 8). This suggests that he realized from the empty tomb’s condition that the absence of Jesus’ body could not have been of human doing and that Jesus had not simply returned to earthly life as had been the case with Lazarus (Jn 11:44; 20:5-7; CCC: 640). “The empty tomb and the linen cloths lying there signify in themselves that by God’s power Christ’s body had escaped the bonds of death and corruption. They prepared the disciples to encounter the Risen Lord” (CCC: 657).