Today, let’s forget Jesus on the cross, instead let’s look closely into the empty tomb. Okay, maybe I didn’t really mean to forget the cross. Of course we know the inestimable suffering our savior endured on behalf of us all for our rebellion against his Father. My point is that without the resurrection, the cross is merely the death of a good man, a sacrifice that leaves us no better off; (1Cor.15:12-22)…as Paul says, we are still in our sins. His death becomes sort of a great story, like Dickens or Shakespeare, but not a life changing, the world turned upside down event.
The devoted women and men who faithfully followed Jesus, stood aghast and truly perplexed in their souls that the one whom they called Rabbi… no, Lord & Master, was NOT where he was lain dead. A monstrous stone tossed aside, who in the world was this blazing figure by the tomb now telling them that He is not here, but risen? Suddenly, unspeakably, Messiah is standing right there! Are you kidding me! This cannot be! We never really believed, I mean deep down…our faint hopes crushed when he was crucified…But now, “my Lord and my God!” His appearance to them in his real body many times over many days, cemented their burgeoning faith that he truly was who he said, the eternal Word made flesh. This is NOW the amazing story of the One who said death held no sway over him, and that it was HIS life to lay down and take up again. Jesus’ declarations in Jn.5 & 11 that placing our confidence in him was a guarantee that we also would not see death. Say what! Yes, the future hope for all who place their trust in the living Jesus, is that we also will escape the bonds of death. This is why Easter morn was the central focus of the early Christians. To them it was a game-changer. Everything the Teacher had said took on incredible significance. Death, the end of all we hold dear, had been beaten for all. Life, new life in him was now and forevermore the reigning king.
When I think of that morning I am filled with hope…not just hope after the grave, but knowing Jesus lived so that the life I now live has daily significance. Remember the refrain from the beloved hymn, “Because He lives”?…”Because He lives I can face tomorrow, because He lives all fear is gone, because I know He holds the future; and life is worth the living just because He lives”.
Knowing Christ is raised has me longing to claim my future home one day. We all resound the words of C.S. Lewis-
“If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”
Finally, don’t ever forget the cross, but in remembering our suffering savior, think deeply about what that empty tomb means for the life He gave us, reflecting on the words of the old hymn, “Love so amazing, so divine, Demands my soul, my life, my all.”