On the morning of the third day [Sunday] Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Jesus go to His tomb to anoint His body. They expect to find it, and are anxious about how they might roll away the stone that covers His tomb.
And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; He is not here.” (Mark 16:4-6)
It’s this moment that allows the apostle Paul to cry out, years later,
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O death where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?” (1 Cor. 15:54-55)
The empty tomb shows that the greatest oppression of all—the oppression of sin and death—has been defeated. It’s gospel Judo. In Judo, you learn to use the power and movement of your attacker against them, often in moves that end with your opponent landing headfirst. Jesus takes on all that is plagued—He becomes human, taking upon Himself all the wrath of God against sin and all the attack and oppression of death, turning it on its head to provide life for God’s children.
Why did Christianity arise, and why did it take the shape it did? The early Christians themselves reply: We exist because of Jesus’s resurrection. Were there no resurrection, we would have neither comfort nor hope, and everything else Christ did and suffered would be in vain.
—Daniel Montgomery and Mike Cosper, Faithmapping: A Gospel Atlas for Your Spiritual Journey, 59, “The Gospel of the Cross.”