October 21, 2008
Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that He must rise from the dead. John 20:8-9
When I go out, many of the places I visit offer tours through cemeteries.
St. Louis is no different.
Recently, the St. Louis Post Dispatch carried an article about Bellefontaine Cemetery, and how it has become a tourist attraction.
And why would anybody take a walk through a graveyard? Possibly, it would be to see the almost-final resting spots of the Brown brothers who made shoes, or the Lemp brewing family, or maybe to stop by and say "hello" to William Clark who was one of the fellows who opened up the West.
With the remains of 86,000 people resting in the cemetery, there is a lot to see.
This made me think about one cemetery, one resting spot, which was anything but final. Somewhere around Jerusalem, there is a place where the friends of Jesus once laid to rest His dead body.
Now I can't tell you exactly where that spot is. Indeed, there are no less than three different locations that claim to be the site. Of course, no one knows which, if any, of them is the right one.
That's because the Savior's body isn't there.
All 86,000 of the people planted at Bellefontaine Cemetery are present and accounted for, but Jesus is not in His grave. And if you doubt me, ask John, or Peter, or the women who went there. Jesus has risen and because He has, Bellefontaine Cemetery in St. Louis and the cemeteries near where you live have lost some of their dark and dismal demeanor.
We know, because Christ has risen, those who sleep in Him are doing just that: sleeping. Now, I still have no great desire to go for a stroll in Bellefontaine Cemetery, but I'd sure like to be there to watch on the day Jesus comes back. It will be a lively place.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, Scripture says, "Blessed are those who die in the Lord...." (Revelation 14:13b). May I give thanks that because of Your sacrifice and resurrection the grave has lost its sting, and death is no longer victorious. In Your Name, I give thanks. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries