No Grave


Easter is truly a day to rejoice, a day to be excited, HE IS RISEN! if there was ever a day to express our joy, this is it.  This is our Savior, our hope and peace, rescuing us from the war we were in that we could never win. 

THIS DAY IS THE DAY JESUS CHANGED THE WORLD, IT’S THE DAY WE WENT FROM VICTIMS OF SIN TO VICTORS OVER SIN. TWEET

This is the day our savior, saved.  Not by wit or charm or force, but by humility, obedience and sacrifice.  In one major power play, one brilliant move on the chess board of mankind, God positioned Jesus to defeat the devil, defeat sin, and took back His greatest possession, you.   

Hebrews 2:14-15 Now since the children have flesh and blood in common, Jesus also shared in these, so that through his death he might destroy the one holding the power of death — that is, the devil — and free those who were held in slavery all their lives by the fear of death.

Jesus defeated death and the fear of death for us.  We should not live in fear and we absolutely shouldn’t die in fear.  It was by His death that our death has lost its sting and our life took on purpose and meaning.  We have a road map for the afterlife now, Jesus went ahead and navigated the path through the grave to the Father.  But He also gave a road map for our lives on Earth.  It came at an incredible cost but we now know the way.  We know the way to live for God and love His people, it’s about our life, not our death.

Through the beatings, the humiliation, the cruelty, being spit upon, slapped and stripped naked, Jesus didn’t waiver. I wonder at the power and mindfulness that was displayed by Jesus that day.  He didn’t defend Himself. He didn’t curse those who betrayed, tried and murdered Him. He didn’t resent the cross, He embraced it, in humility.  Right up until the moment He breathed His last, He was loving people, He was pointing people to the Father, and offering forgiveness to any who would receive it.  Jesus never became bitter, angry or vengeful.  All He did was love. If we want to follow Jesus in our death, we must follow Him in our lives.  We must love like Jesus.  

And as He died on that Friday, the earth trembled, the sky went dark, graves were opened, and religious barriers were torn down.  This wasn’t the death of just another good teacher or prophet, they had crucified the Son of God, and people finally realized what was truly happening in that moment.

However, what was done was done.  They couldn’t change it now.  It would take a work of God to reverse this.  All they could do it bury His body and try to make people forget all of this as soon as possible.  And that is exactly what would have happened, except, that was not the plan and Sunday was coming.  The Son of God, the Son of Man died on the cross that Friday to defeat death not to fall victim to it.  Jesus died to claim a victory over sin.  The way we know that is because on Sunday, the tomb was empty, there was no grave that could hold Jesus.  His resurrection from the dead points to His mastery over death and it holds promises for believers as well; that we also will have victory in life and over death.   The empty tomb His disciples found Sunday morning would not only give them hope and joy. It would send shock waves through eternity.  This is the day God sent His only begotten Son to defeat Satan, sin and death once and for all, and He left us the empty tomb to prove it.

While the resurrection and the empty tomb are bound together, they are distinct. In the resurrection, Jesus shows us His victory over sin, a victory that He shares freely with all who love Him and put their faith and trust in Him. 

But, unlike the resurrection, the empty tomb does not do anything for us. Instead, it tells us something. It tells us that the grave could not hold Jesus. That He bodily rose from the grave. Jesus didn’t need the stone to be moved out of His way to leave the tomb, the stone was moved for us, so we could look and see. When the angel appeared to the women at the empty grave, he told them, “He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. The empty tomb told them that Jesus had indeed been raised. It was evidence of the resurrection.  The empty tomb is the proof of the resurrection, it is the proof that death is defeated, it’s the proof Jesus is who He said He was and did what God sent Him to do. 

Luke 24:1-12 On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came to the tomb, bringing the spices they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb. They went in but did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men stood by them in dazzling clothes. So the women were terrified and bowed down to the ground. “Why are you looking for the living among the dead?” asked the men. “He is not here, but he has risen! Remember how he spoke to you when he was still in Galilee, saying, ‘It is necessary that the Son of Man be betrayed into the hands of sinful men, be crucified, and rise on the third day’ ?” And they remembered his words. Returning from the tomb, they reported all these things to the Eleven and to all the rest. Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them were telling the apostles these things. But these words seemed like nonsense to them, and they did not believe the women. Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. When he stooped to look in, he saw only the linen cloths. So he went away, amazed at what had happened.

It was the empty tomb found by the women and later by Peter the perplexed and amazed them.  It was the empty tomb that proved Jesus had risen from the dead, that Jesus overcame death.  And it’s still our proof today.  I’d like to take a deeper look at the empty tomb and evaluate the proof it provides.

The empty tomb is the part of the resurrection story that critics really don’t believe. Some have objected to the empty tomb story by claiming that it was an urban legend so to speak, rather than historical fact. But one of the most convincing details of the empty tomb account was that is was first discovered by women.

Women were not considered to be accountable witnesses in those times, in fact, women were typically even allowed to testify in court. So obviously, if the empty tomb was made up, the disciples would have had at least enough sense to fabricate a story that said one of the men found the empty tomb. But as it is, in all four gospel accounts, it was the women who first found the empty tomb, not them men. In typical Jesus fashion, He doesn’t do things the way we think would make the most sense.

These women were brave, but the Bible tells us that Christ’s male disciples mostly weren’t. They fled and hide as Jesus faced trial and the cross. Yet the Jewish leaders tried to credited these men with possibly possessing enough guts to try to steal Jesus’ body, in order to circulate the rumor that He had risen.

So the Jewish leaders took extra precautions: they ensured that Jesus’ burial site, a new, unused tomb belonging to Joseph of Arimathea, was guarded by a unit of highly trained Roman soldiers. This guard unit, of several men, knew they faced severe punishment — even death — if Jesus’ body went missing under their watch. So to think these soldiers didn’t take their orders seriously, and diligently police the tomb around the clock is crazy.

Matthew 28:1-4 After the Sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to view the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, because an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and approached the tomb. He rolled back the stone and was sitting on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. The guards were so shaken by fear of him that they became like dead men.

The ruthlessness of Roman soldiers was well-known and feared. Yet the Bible tells us that these seasoned soldiers fainted from terror as God’s chosen angel appeared and rolled the multi-ton stone away from the tomb entrance. Can you imagine it? 

Conclusion

We know that Jesus died and was raised from the dead on the third day.  We know it by written proof in the Bible, we know it by the fact that the church is still going and growing and thriving all over the world.  And we know it because each one of us has experienced the living Christ personally in our lives.  We know He lives, because we know Him.  How sweet it is to live with our hope and life in the hands of a savior who loves us so much He gave Himself to save us.  Jesus defeated death that day, but He also demonstrated how to live our lives well, how to love well.  Were weren’t born into this life just to die and go to heaven, we were all born to live it well.  We know we are secure in eternity with our Father, so lets make the most of the days we have here and let the light of Christ life be what shines though us. 

Stay Anchored and Unhindered in Christ.