Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Empty Tomb

I was chatting with a friend the other day about the cross and he mentioned how he has often thought that he would rather wear a necklace bearing the likeness of an empty tomb rather than that cruel instrument of torture on which our Savior died. He even said he had the impulse to construct an empty tomb in his front yard for Easter, much like some people do with a manger at Christmas.
I agreed wholeheartedly, and even though I have nothing against wearing a cross, I have thought an empty tomb necklace would be a wonderful thing.

And that reminds me of one of my favorite scenes in all the Bible. It’s when the women come to the tomb and find the stone has been rolled away. Suddenly, two angels appear before them as men clothed in garments that shine and flash like lightning. The sun was just coming up at the time, so it’s a safe guess the incredibly brilliant light hurt their eyes. The Bible records that the appearance of angels almost always creates fear in human beings, and this time was no different.

But it’s what they say that gets to me:

And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.” (Luke 24:5-6 ESV)

No, Jesus was not in that tomb! He was, and is, alive!
And that got me to thinking how often we seek life from things that are dead.

Money and cars and boats and clothes and even our homes—all the things we seek that we think will bring us the life we want—all these are dead things. There is no real life in any of them.

Only in Jesus is there life.
And, like Lazarus called out of his own tomb and raised from the dead, Jesus commands that we shed the dead man’s clothes and be free!

“Unbind him, and let him go.” (John 11:44b)
Yes, Jesus is alive and we do not find Him among the dead, but among the living. Indeed, after the Resurrection, the disciples find Jesus in all the places they had found Him before: in the house were they met, walking along the road, breaking bread and sharing a meal, at the mountain where He had preached, and beside the Sea of Galilee.

When you look at the account of the resurrection in the final chapters of each of the four gospels, it’s as if we are being urged to seek Jesus in common, ordinary places—and always with other believers.

And, we are blessed that there is one inanimate object God has given us that is alive. There is great comfort in knowing that if we feel lost and alone and Jesus seems very far away, He can always be found in the pages of the Living Word, the Bible.
Oh, and if you do choose to wear an empty tomb around your neck or erect one in your front yard, know that I will understand and applaud.
Today’s Praise
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. (1 Peter 1:3-4 NLT)

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