Psalm 32:1 Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
Psalm 32:5 I acknowledged my sin unto thee,
and mine iniquity have I not hid.
I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord;
and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.
The Garden Tomb that fit all of the descriptions of Scripture allowed us entry via the opening in the stone. Looking to the right, once we walked in, we could see the stone bench that bordered the wall on three sides, and the walkway into the middle of the benches. Now there are metal bars that guard entrance into that sacred place, but it is easy to imagine running into the tomb and seeing Jesus’ grave clothes neatly folded upon one of the stone benches. Peter, John and Mary (John 20:3-8,11-12) each looked inside, and not only did they see the folded grave clothes, but there were also two angels sitting where the head and the feet of Jesus lay just hours before. Our guide excitedly recalled all the Scriptures that the placement and layout of this tomb matched, but he ended with the fact that it could not be proven that this was the tomb where Jesus once borrowed. His body was no longer there. He Is Risen.
This last November, my second daughter and I had the privilege to go to Israel with her senior class. It is a trip that the school offers every year, and because my husband went with our eldest daughter, it was my turn to take this trip of a lifetime. Immediately after leaving the tomb, we boarded the bus to the Holocaust museum. The sadness blanketed us, and our Jewish guide choked up with tears as he explained the meaning of the trees that were planted in honor of those who helped the Jews in this horrific time. Each display inside the buildings conveyed the harsh reality of life for those the Nazis hated, and there were many pictures and videos along with memorabilia and models of the gas chambers and trains that carried the Jews to the prison camps.
There were several videos that I stopped to watch for just a few minutes and one in particular took my breath away with the abject disregard for the sanctity of human life. The picture in the film was a bull-dozer pushing thousands of emaciated bodies into a large hole in the earth. The cruelty pictured sent my daughter and I to find a quiet place to process and calm our churning emotions. And that is when the full force of the meaning of that empty tomb hit me square in the chest. Jesus had to become that kind of sin, to pay for the sin of all mankind. When His Father turned His face away, and the sun went black in the middle of the daytime, it was not the suffering of His Son that He had to turn away from. It was the full effect of sin that His holiness could not bear, and Jesus bore it alone. There is no sin black enough, no filthy deed hateful enough that He did not bear that day. And as Jesus took it upon Himself and marked Himself amongst the worst that mankind had to offer, He offered us the gift of forgiveness once and for all. There is nothing unforgiveable in Him. What amazing love.
But he was wounded for our transgressions,
he was bruised for our iniquities:
the chastisement of our peace was upon him;
and with his stripes we are healed.