Lent Day 40 – Promise

John 11:25-26 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

Lazarus lies dead. His sister, Martha, weeps with Jesus. “If you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”

Jesus listened. And promised. “Your brother will rise again.”

Moments later He kept that promise, calling Lazarus from his grave. And made that promise to all of us: “Whoever lives by believing in me will never die.”

Easter is that promise kept.

Garden Tomb
One of two locations in Jerusalem where Christians have, through the centuries, believed Jesus may have been buried. This is called “The Garden Tomb” and lies in what was once a wealthy man’s garden outside the city walls, fitting the biblical description of Jesus’ tomb.

John 19:40-42 Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. 41 At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. 42 Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

When it was created for Joseph of Arimathea, a trough was carved in the rock outside the garden tomb – a track where a large round stone could be rolled into place in front of the entrance.

On Saturday morning some Jewish leaders went to Pilate in a panic. “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.” (Matthew 27:63-64)

So Pilate sent a guard with the leaders to the tomb. The tomb was made as secure as they could make it, with a “seal” set in the stone.

Garden Tomb diagram
1.Remnant of what may have been the Roman seal: an iron spike driven into rock and surrounded by molten lead. 2.Close-up of the broken spike. 3.Trough that may have once held a stone in place. 4.Carved bricks not original to the tomb, added during a later restoration. 5.Window added for pilgrims to see into the tomb.

Sunday morning, Mary Magdalene and “the other Mary” went to the tomb to mourn.

Inside Garden Tomb diagram
INSIDE THE TOMB: 1.Entrance to Garden Tomb 2.Antechamber (weeping chamber) 3.low walls about waist high 4.steps down into burial chamber 5.Two burial chambers divided by a thin trough from preparation area between them. 6.Observation window (not original)

When they arrived the stone had been rolled away and an angel was sitting on it.

Matthew 28:5-7 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead…'”

He is risen! Believe and live.

He promised.



Our Prayer

God, I believe. Through me today, may the Power that broke Jesus out of the grave live through me: speak truth, give hope, heal the broken, give life. Amen.