Finding The Empty Tomb

Resurrection Sunday has such a personal meaning to me. Yes, it’s always been special. Brunch, Church, Easter baskets, family, food. But ever since I made a pilgrimage to the tomb it has changed me forever! This is my story…

I will never forget the first time I saw the TOMB.  

Four On A Pilgrimage

It was an oppressively hot and rather muggy evening in early July. I was studying in Old City Jerusalem.    

There were four of us. American women dressed in “holy garb”. Head covered, shoulders covered, knees covered. Our head scarves wet with perspiration stuck to the sides of our cheeks and rivulets of sweat ran down our backs partly because it was stifling and partly because we were overcome with heart-racing anticipation of where we were headed.  

In the Old City

We darted through the very crowded and close Arab market that was alive with strange faces and unusual aromas. Brightly colored wares hung on either side of the narrow streets two stories high. The streets were so narrow that we could not walk four across.

We had ventured out away from the rest of the students to visit the Church Of The Holy Sepulchre, the holy burial place of Jesus of Nazareth. The four of us decided that we did not want to visit the tomb as a part of a study course but as a pilgrimage.  

And so it was.  We scurried along, huddled together, grasping at one another’s hands and clothing just to make sure we were not parted in the crowd. The streets were packed with people and were a labyrinth of alleyways and passages. The ancient stone buildings were so tall on both sides that it felt like we were in a tunnel! 

It wasn’t long until we were completely lost!  It was evening and shortly the sun would be going down. Not a good time to be totally lost in a strange city.


At one point in an attempt to find our bearings, we stopped at a corner of an ancient stone building.

Standing in the middle of the street, I could stretch my arms out and almost touch the building on the other side.  I could feel the panic starting to rise up inside me. I don’t like the feeling of being closed in or lost! The panicked feeling mingled with the heat of the day and made me feel lightheaded!   I put my hand against the wall in front of me to steady myself and touched something etched into the building.

It was a stone plaque of sorts. A cross and the word NIKA engraved into stone. NIKA means “victory”. The word came from a hidden corner of my brain. I remember studying this Greek word a long time ago.

I knew exactly what this ancient stone was.

We had stumbled on to the Via Dolorosa. The Via Dolorosa is Latin for the sorrowful way. It is believed to be the path Jesus took carrying His cross to Calvery.

Our small group of women pilgrims was standing in front of the eighth station of the cross!

We were unknowingly walking the path that our Savior walked over two thousand years earlier as he carried His instrument of death to Calvary!

We Were Those Women

Right there in the midst of the market, the noise, the smells, the heat, and the crowds of strange faces was the Way Of The Cross! Because of my early religious background, I was able to remember the eighth station on the Via Dolorosa.  JESUS MEETS THE WOMEN OF JERUSALEM.

At this point, I was totally overcome by the divine appointment that brought us to this exact place!  

As Jesus walked to His death, a group of women met Him and were grief-stricken. Jesus tells them not to weep for Him but for themselves and their children. As days would be coming that would be very hard for them. He felt great love and compassion for them even though He was steps away from His own death.  You can read about this account in Luke 23:28.

We were just like these women. We were out to meet our Lord!  And we were strengthened by the peace and comfort those thoughts gave us!  

Finding The Tomb

When we finally got to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre it was dark and horribly hot but thankfully, the church was not overly crowded.    

How could I ever explain this “church“. Think of a fortress the size of a football field. Nothing to me resembled a church or Calvary or a garden tomb.

The church was lit by hundreds and hundreds of ornate oil lanterns in different jewel-toned colors and shapes hanging from above. And the whole huge church fortress smelled like burning oil and incense! There was nothing Western or familiar about this place. It was ancient and oriental and orthodox!  

We made our way to an area in the huge church complex traditionally thought to be the tomb where Jesus was buried.    

Of course, it looked nothing like a garden and nothing like a tomb. It was a small church inside the big fortress church. A church inside a church!  


This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Copy+of+DSC05804.jpg

I decided to sit on a bench near the opening of the church tomb to reflect and get myself in a worshipful place.  My sister-in-law sat with me. I spent a lot of time weeping quietly.

I was so overcome by the magnitude of it all. I was focused on Jesus’ supreme sacrifice for me and the extreme and lavish gift of life everlasting at my God’s expense. And it pierced my heart!  

Just before the Church closed for the night, four American women in holy garb got in line to go into the tomb. Into the Holy Sepulcher! There are just some things about the tomb visitation I still want to keep locked in my heart. Things that I ponder and treasure. Things I don’t want to share because if I do I’m afraid they will slip out of my mouth and float away into thin air and I would not get them back inside me again!   Things between me and God!  

But this you must know…

Inside The Tomb

I was in the inner tomb. Inside, where you could see that where we were was an actual cave. Where they laid the dead body of Jesus of Nazareth.  It was a small cramped space. Only a couple of people could fit in at a time. I could not stand upright. It was a real tomb.    

I knelt down at the stone slab where my Lord’s body once was. I draped my arms over it and laid my cheek against it and the thirsty stone drank up my tears!

The tomb was empty! Jesus was not there!

Again, I thought of a few women over two thousand years ago who came to this very tomb looking for Jesus and they found it empty too!

An angel met them and said. “Why are you looking for the LIVING ONE among the dead? He is not here. HE IS RISEN“.  Matt 28:6

He is risen, indeed! Amen!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful post! Happy Easter!

  2. Oh you have brought such emotion to me this Easter morning. Thanks for allowing me to take a walk with you that I know I will never physically take.

  3. He Has Risen Indeed! As I read about your journey I wipe the tears from my eyes being overcome with emotion. I can’t imagine how it felt to actually be there and experiencing it first hand or long ago on that day when Jesus gave himself up for us. Thank you for sharing this with us. God Bless. Love, Wanda

  4. I have only been in my thoughts and imaginings, but you have taken me there this morning. thank you for sharing this today. Blessings, Yvonne, have a wonderful day!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Thank you, Yvonne. I loved living through your experience this morning. I will think of this all day today.

  6. Anonymous says:

    What a beautiful memory. I love tha tyou
    don’t want to teel us. Maybe someday we
    all will be able to see for oursleves and feel
    what you have felt.

    God Bless and Happy Easter.


  7. Yvonne, Thank you for sharing the beautiful story of your visit to the tomb where Jesus was buried. Happy Easter and God bless you and your family.

  8. Yvonne, you brought tears to my eyes when you entered the inner tomb. How blessed you are to have laid your cheeks against the tomb that held the Body of our dearest Lord. I know I will never live this moment that you were so very blessed to have lived but what you wrote has been added to my Rosary meditations. I will always treasure it. Thank you so very much for sharing some of your blessed moments!

  9. You have written this so beautifully, that I am quivering in my whole self. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful story. May God Bless you this Easter.

  10. Oh wow, what an amazing and beautiful journey you have shared with us! I read it with the love of God in my heart. Thank you for sharing and have a wonderful Easter.

  11. Thank you so much for sharing your visit to the ’empty’ tomb of our Lord Jesus. What an amazing experience to have and to see. Blessings to you this Easter Sunday. He is risen indeed!!

  12. He has risen! What a special post Yvonne. Thanks so much for sharing the experience with us. Easter blessings…Mary

  13. Anonymous says:

    Our hope fulfilled that day…if not for our Savior’s resurrection we have no jope of an eternity, with Him…He is Risen indeed, praise God!!! Suek

  14. I am having cold chills all over my body. Thank you for sharing this wonderful story with us. Happy Easter.

  15. Thank You Yeshua!!! And thank you Yvonne for letting Him work through you to teach us!

  16. Anonymous says:

    Oh , to be able to lay my face where Jesus laid , how very intimate and precious .No words to fully describe a heart in such a place .You were blessed and I am thankful that you shared such a holy moment with me . My husband has been there and maybe someday I can expirience such a moment for myself. Bless you .Hannah

  17. Ann from Michigan says:

    Thank you for your beautiful testament.

    God Bless You and your dear family.
    Glory to God. Alleluia!!

  18. I thought of you tonight while watching the finale of the Bible. To have laid your face on the stone where Jesus laid was priceless. He is risen! He is risen indeed!!

  19. This is so lovely, Yvonne. What a wonderful experience our Lord gave you. I wept as I read your words and know exactly how you feel about keeping some of your memories locked away in your heart. One of my greatest desires is to visit the Holy Land one day. He is risen indeed!

  20. What an amazing retell of your experience. You have brought tears to my eyes as I put myself in your place imagining what you saw and experienced. Thank you and may God bless you.

  21. I love reading your Sunday posts, this one in particular. You took a journey so many of us can only dream of, and I can’t tell you how much it means to me to see it through your eyes and heart. Thank you!

    1. Peggy from SC says:

      I totally agree!!! Heart felt and Amazing!

  22. Thank you, Yvonne. Each and every day I look forward to reading your teachings,. And this was amazing. Your extremely lucky to have gotten that opportunity and how exciting it must of been to be where Our Saviour was. He is there no more! Praise God !!!
    Much love and blessings
    ~ Leslie

  23. Anonymous says:

    I am only now seeing this post – BEAUTIFUL-WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE!! Thanks for sharing!!!!

  24. Patricia Harkness says:

    I am wearing just reading your words. What an awesome experience. Thankyou so much for sharing.

  25. Julie Diehl says:

    Yvonne, what a beautiful testimonial! I loved seeing this treasured place through your eyes. Thank you!

  26. Beautiful words… thank you for taking us along, on such a personal journey to see the empty tomb. The resurrection changes everything for you and me, and all who believe! Praise God.

  27. Yvonne, so beautifully written and heartfelt. I had tears running down my face. Thank you for sharing the real meaning of Easter. Easter gets over run with bunnies (which I do love them) and colored eggs. You brought the true sacrifice and meaning to Easter. Thank you for sharing such an intimate experience in your life.

  28. Oh Yvonne, your words took me along with you as you shared your experience and powerful testimony I felt as if I was there witnessing it all and I held it in my heart. He is risen indeed!

  29. Oh my goodness, what an amazing story! For the first time in my life, I want to see the Holy Land. Are you Orthodox? Thank you for sharing this.

  30. Carol Hearfelt Whimsies says:

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful, moving account of your experience.

  31. Ginny Ricci says:

    Thank you for sharing your experience there in the Holy Land….I could close my eyes, and feel as if I were with you. One touch of Jesus Christ, and your life will be changed forever….He is indeed alive…living in, and through us. May we seek to shine his light through our lives everyday to each one he brings into it. Blessed Easter, Yvonne…I share your joy in his promise of everlasting life.

  32. Ana Maria says:

    I read your blog each time you post and enjoy your decor advice. However, it is your Sunday posts that I enjoy the best. Your devotion and faith comes across clearly and passionately. I am a practicing Catholic and I share your passion for our risen Lord!

  33. Debra Cotcamp says:

    As I was reading this with tears running down my face I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit. Thank you for sharing. May many who read this experience His presence also and know that He lives!!

  34. Thank you for sharing this beautiful testimony . I hope one day to visit as well ?

  35. Gail True says:

    Thank you for sharing these treasured moments! Blessed be the name of the LORD!!

  36. You stay so close to the teachings of God. I love your blog. No telling how many non Christians you have touched. Even as a believer in Jesus you always remind me of His great love for us. God bless your ministry.

  37. Sherry Tomaselli says:

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. I am not generally an emotional person and this brought tears to my eyes as it does when I am in church and reflect upon the sacrifice that Jesus made so that I could be saved. Wishing you and your family a joyous Easter!

  38. Sharon Pack says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story of your trip to the tomb of our Lord! I so wish I could see it too, but I am glad to have read about your journey. Thank you for sharing!

  39. Sheilah Broughton says:

    Wonderful retelling of your experience. I want to share my awe-inspiring story. Due to a series of mishaps while on vacation, I found myself alone in a huge cathedral in Bayeux, France. I walked up and down each aisle admiring the art and carvings and feeling a holy presence. I thought of the history of that cathedral, the work it took to build it and the faith of the people that worshipped beneath its’ arches………what a feeling!
    One of my favorite things to do is step inside old, abandoned churches. I can hear the voices raised in praise, followed by the whispered prayers. Sometimes I think empty churches are more reverent than the ones filled on Sunday morning.

  40. Shelia P. says:

    Hi Yvonne! Thank you for sharing your story. How amazing and moving to be able to see the tomb of Jesus! Thank you so much for sharing.

  41. May God continue to richly bless you with the gift of clarity in writing down your experiences with Him. It’s hard to put into words an experience like you have had. I love your blog,

  42. Janice Free says:

    I’ve read your story of being at the tomb before. Probably last Easter. Today the Lord has spoken to me in scripture and in your story. What a wonderful season we are in. My heart is overflowing with His love.

  43. Glenda Shine says:

    I can not even imagine walking the steps that our Jesus walked on the way to Calvary. What a blessing to have this experience!
    Thank you so very much for sharing your experiences and love for Chris with us. I look forward to all of your posts but especially you Sunday post.
    Thank you for sharing the love of God with the world.

  44. That is absolutely beautiful, Yvonne. What an experience to touch the very place He laid! Thank you for sharing this! What a Savior we have!!

  45. Joanna Malczewska says:

    I am so lucky to read these lines shortly after my recent visit at Jerusalem … I visited the place as a part of our pilgrimage. I was so surprised that many people were crying while entering the tomb. My first thought was – don’t cry, the tomb is empty! Christ has risen, also for you! <3

  46. Pauline FitzPatrick says:

    Wow!! What a beautiful and incredibly moving experience you had on that day. It certainly will stay with you and continue to reinforce your strong beliefs. I am envious of what you gained and felt that day.
    Happy Easter. Indeed – He has risen.

    Pauline FitzPatrick

  47. Elli Zurowski says:

    Happy Easter, Yvonne! Thank you for telling your beautiful, inspiring account. It is a great encouragement to me! May God bless you!

  48. Timerey Bush says:

    Thank you for this beautiful story. I wish you and yours a wonderful day.
    Happy blessed Easter. I know there was a resurrection because he lives in me!!!

  49. Vicki Fuller says:

    Thank you for sharing your story, Yvonne. I am going to Israel in May and your experience is encouraging! He is risen Indeed!!

  50. Debbie Glass says:

    Thank you for sharing this. I love your posts and appreciate that you share your faith. Happy, blessed Easter!

  51. Thank you for letting us experience the walk this morning. Happy Easter.

  52. Thank you for sharing this! No words will suffice. Happy Holy Easter to you!

  53. What a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing.

  54. Angela Chivers says:

    Thank you Yvonne , that was beautiful and I felt as if I was there .

  55. Shelley Hodson says:

    A beautifully written account of your time there. I hope I have the chance to go there myself one day. Thank you so much for sharing.

    Happy Easter Yvonne ✝️

  56. Carol Manlove says:

    What a powerful & beautifully moving experience Yvonne-Thank you for sharing from your heart ♥️

  57. JoAnn McM says:

    I love your spiritual descriptions of your experiences in the Holy Land. They are so moving. Happy Easter! We are redeemed ?

  58. This made my Easter!
    What beautiful memories!
    Thank you for sharing!

  59. A story over 2000 years old has been made new, once again, through your eyes. HE lives and reigns forever!

  60. Lorraine Stoltzfus says:

    Hallelujah what a Saviour!

  61. Thank you for sharing your wonderful trip. This story of the resurrection is the most beautiful.
    Happy Easter ✝️

  62. Nancy Page says:

    Thanks so much for sharing. We serve a wonderful Savior and to think He died for all that believe. Have a blessed Easter!?

  63. Yvonne,
    Beautiful thoughts for today. Thank you for sharing your journey to the Tomb. He is risen!
    Wishing you a blessed Easter.

  64. Jane Bentrott says:

    Thank you for sharing such a special moment is your life! I loved reading about your experience, especially on this Easter Sunday. Have a blessed day!

  65. Ana Maria says:

    He is Risen indeed!
    Thank you for this beautiful post. May He continue blessing you and yours forever. ❤️

  66. Thank you Yvonne for that accurate description of the tomb where they placed our Lord. I could almost feel myself actually being there. Your religion and encouraging words of faith are truly inspirational. Bless you…

  67. Beverly Poag says:

    Beautiful commentary on your journey to the holiest of holy places. Keep those beautiful personal experiences always locked in your heart. Just between you and God!!♥️

  68. He is risen indeed!! I so enjoyed reading your account of your visit to our Lord’s tomb. I hope to one day visit myself but I know that the tomb will still be empty for He lives.


  69. How wonderful that because He has risen, we can live in victory. His resurrection power enables us to overcome the sin that entangles and trips us up. There is no reason for me to live in doubt and depression anymore!

  70. MARY-ANN (FROM CANADA!) says:

    Yvonne, thanks for sharing this lovely post! You made me feel like I was walking along beside you! What a wonderful experience you had in visiting the tomb where our Savior was put after He so willingly bore our sins on the cross. Such amazing love He had for each one of us. I wept when you mentioned how you spread your arms out and placed your cheek right where Jesus was placed. How wonderful to be at this holy spot and and see this with your own tear-filled eyes! I know your heart is full of many precious thoughts! Keep those special thoughts real close to your heart.
    May God continue to bless you and make you a blessing to all those whose lives you touch. You are precious and I thank you for sharing about our Savior in these uncharted times. You are definitely a blessing and I thank God for you, Yvonne!

    1. And I thank God for you and your encouragement and prayers. I need them. I may not ever meet you in this life but I can’t wait to meet you in heaven.

  71. Pam Cates says:

    You have described the tomb where Jesus laid for me so beautifully. I’ve never wanted to visit there but your description makes me want to perhaps. Our world is a dangerous place now and that’s reason enough to not go.
    What wonderful memories you must have.
    I enjoy all your decorating tips and the recipes but applaud you for posting your love of Christ.