The inscription on the tomb of Shakespeare says, "Good friend for Jesus sake, forbear to dig the dust enclosed here. Blest be the man that spares these stones, and curst be he that moves my bones."
In contrast, the One whose name is invoked in Shakespeare's epitaph said His tomb would ultimately be empty because he would rise again in three days.
Shakespeare's undisturbed tomb issues a warning.
Our Lord's empty tomb declares a promise to be kept.
Strangely, the enemies of Jesus remembered His promise to rise from the grave, while his friends forgot it. Even the women who made their way to the tomb that first Easter morning had somehow missed the message. They were carrying spices to anoint and preserve the body of the One who had said death could not hold Him in its grip. Destroy the temple, and in three days I will raise it up, He had said. But there they were preparing to do the work of undertakers.
What changed the minds of these sincere but doubting women?
An early morning earthquake (Matthew 28:2) and an empty tomb.
Moments after the earth began to move beneath under their feet they discovered the stone that had been placed at the mouth of the tomb had been rolled away, ending their doubts forever.
The reality of the resurrection transformed them from morticians to missionaries who were soon on their way to tell the disciples that Christ was risen.
Faith often follows fearful experiences. Trust frequently triumphs after trembling times. Many have discovered the living One to be their source of peace and strength when their world was shaking.
Peter was so fearful following the arrest and trial of Jesus that he denied he even knew Him, but after the resurrection he became the bold spokesman for the church and three thousand doubters were shaken from their unbelief in one day as a result of his powerful preaching.
To believe or not to believe questioned Thomas after hearing Christ was alive, concluding he would remain a doubter until he could place his fingers into the nail prints in the Lord's hands and thrust his hand into the spear wound in His side.
But after one weak week the doubting disciple became so convinced of the resurrection that he was willing to die as a martyr in the service of His Lord and myths do not produce martyrs.
At the lowest point of their lives the disciples were shaken out of despair by the resurrection. Now they knew this one they had decided to follow was the one He claimed to be.
Has your faith been shaken by some personal tragedy or disappointment?
Allow the good news of the resurrection to bring you back to life again.
Roger Campbell is an author, a columnist and broadcaster who was a pastor for 22 years.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.