The first "Easter" service observed was of course when Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James and the other women went to the tomb where Jesus’ body was. They went to anoint His body with spices they had prepared for burial, but what the women discovered was an empty tomb.
"But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, [the women] went to the tomb, taking the spices which they had made ready. And they found the stone rolled back from the tomb, But when they went inside, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus." (Luke 24:1-3, AMP)
To be fair they really did not expect an empty tomb. However, they did bring what "they had made ready." The spices they prepared were brought to the tomb to anoint His body. What these women made ready was not for them at all, but for the Lord they loved.
We, as Christians today, also bring what we have "made ready." The difference is what we have made ready is ourselves, spent on our own selfish desires. We get dressed up in our new Easter clothes, dye eggs, give the kids candy and "go" to church instead of being the Church. We go to the tomb of our religious obligation and call it a "sacrifice" because it is a sunrise service.
However, the resurrection story does not stop there. They discovered the empty tomb and something else:
"And while they were perplexed and wondering what to do about this, behold, two men in dazzling raiment suddenly stood beside them. And as [the women] were frightened and were bowing their faces to the ground, the men said to them, Why do you look for the living among [those who are] dead? He is not here, but has risen! Remember how He told you while He was still in Galilee That the Son of Man must be given over into the hands of sinful men (men whose way or nature is to act in opposition to God) and be crucified and on the third day rise [ from death] And they remembered His words." (Luke 24:4-8, AMP)
The women went to the tomb seeking to serve the Lord and were reminded just who it was they were seeking. They were reminded that Jesus is the Lord of the living not the dead. What if the angels who were at the tomb with Mary Magdalene that day were at most of our resurrection celebrations? The message would probably still be "why do you seek the living among the dead" just like it was back then. Most church-goers today think Jesus will be right where we left Him last Easter; just like the two Marys and the other women at the tomb of Jesus on that resurrection morning. So why do we seek the living among the dead? Do we think our cold religion will keep Him frozen in place for our next visit?
Later in the Luke chapter 24 Jesus actually shows up:
"And behold, that very day two of [the disciples] were going to a village called Emmaus, [which is] about seven miles from Jerusalem. And they were talking with each other about all these things that had occurred. And while they were conversing and discussing together, Jesus Himself caught up with them and was already accompanying them. But their eyes were held, so that they did not recognize Him." (Luke 24:13-16)
Why didn’t the two disciples recognize Jesus? Could it be they did not expect Jesus to be in their everyday walk? Since they were discussing the recent events, they probably thought Jesus was just where they left Him. Could that be why so many today don’t find the living Jesus? Maybe we think that Jesus is still where we left Him.
Fortunately that is not the end of the resurrection day story:
"Then they drew near the village to which they were going, and He acted as if He would go further. But they urged and insisted, saying to Him, Remain with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is now far spent. So He went in to stay with them. And it occurred that as He reclined at table with them, He took [a loaf of] bread and praised [God] and gave thanks and asked a blessing, and then broke it and was giving it to them When their eyes were [instantly] opened and they [clearly] recognized Him, and He vanished (departed invisibly)." (Luke 24:28-31, AMP)
The recognition of Jesus took place in the breaking of bread, not the partaking of the bread. A common phrase that means "fellowship" is "breaking bread." Isn’t it amazing that they finally recognized Jesus in the breaking of the bread. Brokenness reveals Jesus every time. And brokenness must occur before we can partake of what Jesus offers.
We don’t want a broken loaf these days. We want the unbroken and stale bread of religion. We would rather choke on religion than share what we have by the "breaking of bread" (fellowship) with Jesus and each other. Isn’t it time that we give up our holy days of obligation and playing christian dress up? Isn’t it time we become the Church, the Body of Christ, and allow Him to walk with us daily?
The tomb is empty folks and He is risen.