The cross is empty! The tomb is empty! And Jesus is alive forevermore!
Yeshua (Jesus’ name in Hebrew, meaning salvation) fulfills all the Scriptures and prophecies. He died on the cross as the Passover lamb (1Corinthians 5:7) and so became the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29). He was buried in the tomb of a rich man (Isaiah 53:9). Yeshua Himself said he would be in the “heart of the earth” for three days and three nights, the “sign of Jonah”, Matthew 12:39-40. And on the third day He rose from the dead (Matthew 16:21, 28:5-6), the greatest day in all of human history!
Notice in John 20:17, when Mary had gone to the tomb very early on the Sunday morning, she saw the tomb was already empty. She was distraught, not knowing what to think. The resurrected Jesus appeared to her there at the tomb, and when she realised who he was, he told her not to cling to him for he had not yet ascended to his Father. Yet later, he told Thomas in particular to touch him and see that he was real, not a ghost (John 20:27).
Why the difference? Because, when Jesus appeared to Mary on the Sunday, he had “not yet ascended to his Father”. That Sunday, the first day of the week, was the Feast of Firstfruits. During every Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread season, the first day of the week following the Sabbath was the Feast of Firstfruits, traditionally the day when the priest would take the first portion of the early harvest and wave it before the LORD so that it would be accepted on behalf of the people (Leviticus 23:11).
Jesus is the fulfilment of Firstfruits! He is the “firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep”, (1Corinthians 15:20). As such, after he appeared to Mary at the tomb, he ascended to his Father in heaven and presented himself as the firstfruits offering, in fulfilment of the Feast of Firstfruits in Scripture. That’s why Mary couldn’t touch him yet, because he hadn’t presented himself to the Father as the Firstfruits offering.
Yeshua is the Resurrection and the Life, (John 11:25). And the implication of “first fruits” is that there will be “other fruits” to be resurrected also, later, when He returns (1Cor.15:23)! His resurrection is the guarantee of our resurrection, that is if we belong to Him!
So, happy Resurrection Day! Celebrate Jesus, risen from the dead, the fulfilment of the Feast of Firstfruits!