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Have you ever seen the carnival game where someone uses a sledge hammer to hit a target on the ground to launch a weight up a rod in an attempt to ring a bell? It takes strength to smack the target hard enough to ring the bell.
Strength is also important in our examination of the empty tomb. One detail required great strength. Matthew 27:60 says that after Joseph buried Jesus, “He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away.” (NIV 1984) Tombs often had a rolling cover, like a large stone disc set on edge. It rolled in a track that guided it over the door. The language used in Mark indicates the track led downhill, making closing the tomb easier than opening it. So Joseph’s strength was enough to close the tomb.
But listen to John 20:1, “Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.” (NIV 1984) The word removed used here, and the description in Luke’s account, indicate the stone wasn’t simply rolled back up the track enough to open the door. The stone had been carried away, removed from the tomb.
Here again, this would have been impossible for Jesus to accomplish if he’d simply fainted on the cross and revived in the tomb. The power of the resurrection moved the stone.
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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.