Predictable and Not So Predictable Reactions to the Empty Tomb

By: Alan Harvey

Posted: October 15, 2018

Category: Daily Devotional

But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stopping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home amazed at what had happened.
Luke 23:44-45a
Scripture: Luke 23:56 – 24:12

One thing many people dislike is others predicting what they will do in any given situation. When a crisis arises, you know from previous situations that your friend will come unglued and struggle to hold it together. She always has reacted that way, so why should this situation be any different?

When faced with a financial decision, you know your friend has always been very conservative and cautious regarding prospective gains. He did not want to do anything that could threaten his assets and savings. He always has reacted that way in similar situations, so why should now be any different?

Yes, friends can become quite upset when others think they are always predictable.

In this instance the women had faithfully followed Jesus while in Galilee and continued to follow Him and provide for Him as He journeyed to Jerusalem. Most likely those women would not be upset if we told them we had predicted what they would do. While the Sabbath interrupted their final ministry to Jesus, namely anointing His body for burial, others knew they would return to perform that final labor of love. If we knew that they would see what they saw in the garden, then we would have predicted that they would be nothing less than frightened to see two men in dazzling white clothes. Shocked though the women were, they would have made every effort to hang onto the details reported about Jesus and to recall what He had said while He was in their midst. Once informed, others would have predicted that the women would race to tell Jesus’ disciples what they had seen and heard.

We might even have predicted that Peter would give the women enough credence to verify their report. Along with others we would probably have predicted that Peter would go to the tomb and at least see what was or was not in the tomb. Seeing the linen cloths by themselves, we most likely would have predicted that Peters immediate reaction would be one of amazement. But what we would not have predicted is that Peter would have just gone home! We would have predicted that he would have told others what he had seen. We would not have expected Peter to return home, sit in his Lazy Boy recliner and just think about how amazing all of this was. We would have expected Peter to do something … to have told the other disciples or to tell everyone along the way that Jesus’ body was not where it had been laid, that the tomb was empty and that the only remnants found were the linen cloths! Some people may be able to predict what we will say or do, but when God has been the Great Actor in the story, we may be less predictable than usual. Most likely from our knowledge of Simon Peter none of us would have predicted he would have contained rather than sharing his amazement!


O God, with You all things are possible. Whether we do what is predictable or unpredictable, grant that what we do is always for Your glory. In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen.