The Stone

David Bast

READ : John 20:1-10

Who will roll away the stone for us . . . ? (Mark 16:3)

Eighty years ago an English journalist and skeptic named Frank Morison set out to explain the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ last days in non-supernatural terms. His study led him to describe that project as “the book that refused to be written.” The book Morison did write, which described how he became convinced that Jesus actually rose from the dead, was called Who Moved the Stone?

We know who moved the stone—God did. A more interesting question is why God moved the stone. It wasn’t to let Jesus out of the tomb. Jesus’ resurrection from the dead wasn’t a resuscitation. It didn’t look like a television drama when they shock someone’s heart in the ER and the person suddenly starts to breathe again. Jesus’ resurrection wasn’t a return to this life; it was the firstfruits of the life to come. His body didn’t come slowly awake; it was totally transformed, instantaneously, “in the twinkling of an eye” (1 Cor. 15:52). The risen, glorified Lord transcended the laws of time and space. Things like locked doors (John 20:19) or sealed tombs presented no obstacle to him.

So why move the stone? Not to let Jesus out, but to let the witnesses in. As John would later write, “That . . . which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands . . . we proclaim also to you . . . that you too may have fellowship with us” (1 John 1:1-3).


Alleluia! Christ is risen!