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Easter is a time of celebration. The liturgical calendar has carried us from the little town of Bethlehem all the way to an empty tomb. When you think about it, the empty tomb might be the greatest gift from our Creator. Since our history was first recorded, humankind has had an inbred sense of God’s existence. It does not matter where we go, how isolated a people have been, are, or might become, God has placed His presence into the human heart (mind). Yes, there are the outliers, those who cannot see that creation carries the most eloquent design, a design far beyond the human mind. The design along with the universe is so complex but in a perfect way, that the random collision of molecules could never have produced it. Easter is a perfect opportunity to celebrate life, not just the ordinary life we can see but the extraordinary life that lies just beyond earth’s door to eternity.

How then should we celebrate Easter? There is the usual list of gifts, God’s forgiving Grace, Jesus, or His work on the cross for our benefit. Is it that we are finally reconciled with our Creator? No longer separated by sin, with our assurances coming from His Holy Word. The unfortunate truth is that too many celebrate Easter with a new hat or suit, a family gathering, and maybe that once or twice a year visit to their local church. Up for your consideration, however, is to spend a moment and think about the significance of the “empty tomb.”

(Mark 16:2-8) 1 – “Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, ‘Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?’ But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. ‘Don’t be alarmed,’ he said. ‘You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’ Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone because they were afraid.”

To start, we find it was most probable that as many as five women could have come to the tomb. Putting Mark 16:1 and Luke 24:10 together, we know the names of four. Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, Salome, and Joanna, wife of Chuza. The number of women named Mary adds to the confusion and Jesus’ mother may very well been there too. God, while not explicitly named, has opened the tomb for them. The women see the first glimpse of what God has done that is humanly impossible, reversing death. Without yet being aware of it, three women enter the open tomb and find themselves confronted with the first disclosure of God’s action in the resurrection. The tomb is empty!

Once the women enter the tomb itself, the absence of Jesus’ body is quickly overshadowed by the presence of a white-robed young man. Confidently, the heavenly figure says, “He has been raised. He is not here. See the place where they laid him.” The angel proclaims the great truth that concerns everyone and will change the universe forever. Jesus is not dead; He has been raised. The frightened women flee.

The initial reaction is met with trembling, astonishment, silence, and fear. Jesus is not dead (Mark 16:6) and they can see Jesus in Galilee (Mark 16:7). God has changed everything! They expected to find a crucified corpse, but the angel’s words show them the awesome power of God. God has triumphed over evil; the divine kingdom has permanently entered our world. The victim, Jesus is vindicated. He IS the Son of God. The resurrection of Jesus from the dead has been at the heart of the gospel message from the beginning. The empty tomb tells us that the grave could not hold Jesus. That He bodily rose from the grave. Jesus demonstrated his victory over death and that we also will have victory over death. The earliest disciples of Jesus had no need for evidence of an empty tomb. They could see it for themselves. They also could see Jesus for Himself! Study their lives. All chose to die rather than to recant their belief that the tomb really was empty, and Jesus was alive. Why is this so important? You cannot have a relationship with someone who is dead. Jesus lives! Death is not the end of a journey; it is the beginning.

Knowing Jesus is not about avoiding things. It’s about receiving the fullness of life. Jesus, the incarnate God, came for each of us so we could have a deep and intimate relationship with Him. It is a relationship where you hear His voice, reason with Him and with His help, love the world. A relationship with Jesus isn’t always easy.  It requires choices, sometimes hard choices. Jesus doesn’t need our money. He doesn’t need our attendance in church. Jesus doesn’t even need us to behave. Jesus simply needs our permission, permission to walk and talk with us. His love is never forced. Love must always a mutual choice.  Want that relationship?

  • Confess your sins and admit that you are a sinner. (Romans 3:10)
  • Be willing and ready to repent from your sins. (Acts 17:30)
  • Believe that Jesus died on the cross for you, was buried, and rose from the dead. Believe He lives! (Romans 10:9-10)
  • Pray and invite Jesus to come into your life and become your personal savior. (Romans 10:13)
  • Read and study the Holy Bible and fellowship with other Christians. 

For further information, re-read Lostpine’s last Easter’s study, Is the Resurrection of Jesus True? 

Contemplations

  • What are your Easter traditions?
    • Ideas to Explore: Church, family time, special gatherings and special foods. Dressing up, looking your best!
  • Do you use Easter as an opportunity to re-enforce your faith with your family?
    • Ideas to Explore: Easter is a time to renew our relationship with Christ. How do you do that? Is there a special tradition that helps your family, friends, and children understand who Jesus is?
  • Scriptures tell us that Jesus has a body. That means heaven is a real place. Have you thought about that?
    • Ideas to Explore: The Word of God, the Bible reinforces the fact that Jesus had a body. He was resurrected! Jesus had wounds that Thomas could touch. Jesus ate, shared meals with His friends. The prospect of eternity is a place where peace is present. Have you given that some thought?
  • How’s your relationship with Jesus lately?
    • Ideas to Explore: Relationships need work. Sometimes they need repair. Sometimes, they just need time. Jesus is just one decision away.

Notes:

  1. NIV New International Version Translations
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