Easter is much more than an annual day on the calendar. It’s a remarkable experience. It’s a celebration of God’s victory over evil. You can do more than read about it. You can turn off your cell phone and go stand in front of that stone-sealed tomb. There you can watch God at work.

You feel the earth shaking beneath your feet. Your eyes are fastened on the angel who suddenly appears in dazzling white clothes. You hear the crunching sound of that huge stone rolling aside when the angel touches it. You see the fear in the eyes of the Roman guards as they fall to the ground like dead men.

You hear someone running and turning, you see Peter and John rush up to the open tomb. John hesitates. Peter walks right in. Curious, you peer inside and see what Peter sees. The body of Jesus is not there, only the linens and the cloth that had been on his head. You say nothing as Peter and John walk away in stunned amazement.

You hear someone crying. It’s Mary and other women arriving. You can hardly believe what you see before you as the women enter the tomb. Two mighty angels suddenly appear. And with a voice like none you ever heard before, one angel says to the women, “Do not fear. I know you are looking for Jesus. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.” The women stop weeping but are speechless. Then the angel tells the women, “Go quickly and tell his disciples he has risen from the dead and will meet you in Galilee.”

You stand there, amazed at the change in the women. Though still fearful, they now seemed filled with joy. Then as the women hurry away to obey the angel, your knees buckle as Jesus, alive and well, suddenly appears before you and the women. You recognize him immediately although Mary thinks Jesus is the gardener. But when Jesus quietly says, “Mary,” she realizes it is Jesus speaking to her. Her despair turns into joy as Jesus says, “Don’t be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to meet me in Galilee.”

What happened to Mary can happen to you when you believe what you have witnessed on that resurrection morning. Mary was convinced Jesus was alive, so convinced that she said breathlessly to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord!”

Standing there, before that empty tomb, you too can believe God raised Jesus from the dead. And once you believe that, you will soon see evidence daily that he is still alive and changing people like he changed Mary and the disciples back then. The most telling evidence, however, will be the change he makes in you when he turns your despair into gladness and fills you with such joy that you feel compelled to tell others, “I too have seen the Lord!”

He is Risen! Hallelujah!