I have been inside the Empty Tomb! Not only that, but I was blessed in October 2010 to receive the Body, Blood, Soul & Divinity of Jesus Christ in a private Easter Mass inside the Tomb of Our Lord.
So, yes… I know in my heart of hearts: He’s alive!
Before working at The Pilgrim Center of Hope, I never thought about what Our Lord’s tomb or Calvary would look like today. The Scriptures have made these places a part of my heritage, but I failed to ‘put 2 and 2 together’ — these places are all real! Now, I have climbed Golgotha, touched Gabbatha, and kissed the Tomb of Christ. Holy Week and Easter always re-awaken these memories.
Never visited the Church of the Holy Sepulcher? Until you make the journey, let new media help you discover the tomb and Golgotha. (Both are under the same roof in this massive church!) Thankfully, the custodians of the holy sites, the Franciscans, have released a fascinating video about the Holy Sepulcher Church. See layers of history peel away, to reveal a 3D journey to through the church in all its ages.
A large edifice was built around the Tomb itself to protect and honor it. When you enter the front door of this edifice, you’re inside The Chapel of the Angel. This is the first section of the Tomb, a place where the family and friends of the deceased would mourn. Less than 40 people can squeeze inside this area. In Christ’s Tomb, this section is The Chapel of the Angel because in the center remains a piece of the stone that, according to tradition, was rolled away by the angel at Christ’s Resurrection.
Standing inside this small Chapel, you feel like you’re inside a cave. Straight ahead is a very small entrance to the inner area of the Tomb, where the body was kept. To enter through the opening, you have to squat or crawl; it’s quite low to the ground. Once inside, you see that only about six or seven people can squeeze together in this tiny area. Over the place where Jesus’ body was laid, an altar is built. Censors and candles hang above.
I hope you can visit these places someday, with a Christian guide and an itinerary that allows time for prayer at the holy sites. If you never can visit, though, know that these places you read about are as real as the pores in your skin or dirt on the ground. Check out some photos here.
Praise God! Happy Easter!