Fifteenth Station of the Cross

Celebrating Christ's resurrection

There are a series of pictures representing certain aspects in the Passion of Christ, and each one corresponds to a particular incident.

This series is known as The Way of the Cross and this page introduces the Fifteenth Station.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Fifteenth Station

Empty cross
He lives!

Sunday, three days after Christ's Crucifixion, the Passover feast had ended. Several women left the city to walk to the tomb where Jesus had been interred, bringing jars of ointment to anoint the body. As they walked, one can imagine they were discussing whether they'd be able to move the big boulder blocking the entrance to the tomb. Imagine their surprise when they arrived to find the boulder had gone. These women were in mourning, so imagine their shock to discover the Jesus' body was not there either!

What they did see, was an angel in the tomb. The angel said "Don't be alarmed. You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified." (Mark 16:6).

Huh? Don't be alarmed? Get real! The boulder's gone, the body of Jesus is gone, and now they see an angel talking to them. And they shouldn't be alarmed?

"He has risen!" continued the angel (and presumably still didn't want the women to be alarmed). The women fled. They ran down the hill to tell the disciples.

They must have been hysterical and at first, the disciples were skeptical. Nevertheless, Peter, John and Mary Magdalene went back to the tomb to see for themselves "strips of linen lying there, as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus' head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen" (John 20:6-7)

The only logical answer for the body's disappearance seemed to be that the authorities had moved it. Or perhaps robbers. The men left to find out what had happened, but Mary stayed behind, weeping.

She heard somebody approach and thought it must have been a staff member. She asked: "Sir, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him." Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, "Rabbouni!" (Master!). Jesus said, "Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God." Mary went to tell the disciples "I have seen the Lord!" (John 20:14-18).

Big as it was, the boulder, the mummifying bandages, and even the guards, had not prevented Jesus from rising as the Son of the Father Almighty.

Imagine the joy! And yet Mary and the others would not have really understood the significance. They presumed that Jesus had risen as a ghost. They had no idea what the risen Christ was to mean, and they were struggling to come to terms with the fact that he had risen from the dead.

It might be argued that they were struggling to come to terms that Jesus had died in the first place. It is, as we all know, a common part of grieving when somebody dear to us dies. Many people see 'ghosts', many people believe that their loved ones are not really dead. Some conspiracy theorists believe Princess Diana is in hiding somewhere and many people see Elvis every year.

But after a while, after a generation or two, these 'undead' people tend to die. Every year, more and more people accept that Elvis really has left the building - although of course, Rock'n'Roll never dies.

But Christians have no problem in accepting that Christ is very much alive, even today, 2,000 years after his death. This makes no sense now, just as it didn't make any sense 2,000 years ago. Yet Christians know in their hearts that this is very true! ("And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the ages" Matt. 28:20.)

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