The Disciples Came Running, 1898, Eugène Burnand, Wikipedia Commons
"Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed. For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead."(John 20:8-9)
He came first to the tomb, but he did not enter at first. Whatever held him back, it was Simon Peter who ventured first into the dark place and emerged again with evidence that the Master was no longer there.
He paused. Was it for fear or disbelief? Was he frozen with shock or just unsure of what to do?
Perhaps there are people today who do not know what to do with the resurrection. It is scandalous. It is ridiculous in mere human terms. It is unbelievable and inconceivable. This disciple had been present when Jesus had predicted it, but he still had no understanding of it.
They were just words.
Then he walked in. He stared into the mouth of death and entered the sepulcher. It was not an easy thing for him to do, but he did it and I am sure, he never regretted that moment, because it was in that moment that another miracle took place.
It was the miracle of believing. He saw and believed.
Notice that he believed before he understood. Understanding would take some time. Believing took one moment.
It was a moment of encounter, a moment of realization, a moment of remembering, and a moment of seeing with his very own eyes. He had not yet seen Jesus, but he had seen enough. The miracle of belief was a spiritual transformation of his heart. It would prepare him to understand and receive all else that God would give – perhaps even to write the book of John, for many believe that this account is autobiographical.
“… These are written that ye may believe …” he would later conclude.
Step into the tomb for just a fleeting moment. Gaze into the mouth of death and you will see. It is empty. It is devoid of power. The Lord is risen. Believe!