A stone rolled away…an empty tomb...abandoned burial rags…a missing body…
These timeless reminders of Resurrection Sunday and the events that took place often lose their luster and become ordinary, expected, and predictable, especially if you’re like me and grew up in a Christian home. We become so familiar with these icons of Christianity that they lose their wonder, awe, and splendor in our eyes. But this should not be! We should never grow weary and calloused to the glory, awe, and miracle of the empty tomb, but must remind ourselves of what really took place and become re-amazed by the wonder of it all.
On the cross, God’s holiness and justice was satisfied, but the empty tomb broke Satan’s power and dominion over this world. We cannot have one without the other. They are two inseparable parts of the same equation. We needed reconciliation with God, which could only be accomplished through Jesus’ death. But at the same time, the Son of God could not remain dead, for what hope is there in that? How could we trust and place our hope in a dead man?
No, Jesus needed to rise from the grave, defeating death and Satan’s power once and for all. So on the third day, the women from Galilee found an empty tomb where hell was conquered and death defeated, for Christ was risen in victory. This in itself is reason to celebrate!
However, that’s not the end of the story. Jesus didn’t just rise from the dead and then go on to live a second mortal life on this earth. He ascended and returned to His Father in glory and is now seated at His right hand making intercession on our behalf. As Paul wrote to the Romans:
“Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised--who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.”
So Jesus not only endured the agony of the cross and just punishment for our sins and overcame death and Satan to give us new life, but He is also actively pleading our case before the throne of God. Instead of spending eternity enjoying the glory and honor due His name, Christ is interceding for us. How amazing is that?! This is what the empty tomb represents: not only victory over death, but the love and care of a great High Priest who is continually making intercession on our behalf.
If that doesn’t make you want to break out in worship to our King of Kings and Lord of Lords, then remember that we are completely undeserving of this incomprehensible gift. Jesus isn’t just our Savior but He is God, Creator of the Universe, the Beginning and the End, First and Last, the Eternal One, and so much more. The Apostle Paul was divinely-inspired to write an eloquent recap on Jesus’ life and mission, what He did, who He was, and where He is now in six poetic verses found in Philippians 2:
“Who, though he [Christ] was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Are you amazed yet at the meaning of the cross and empty tomb? Is your heart filled with wonder and your soul filled with awe at what Christ left behind to become sin for us? Are you ready to worship the Risen Lord, Savior, and King who is worthy of all our praise?
If not, the words of Dr. S. M. Lockeridge in his sermon "That's My King"* should bring you to your knees in humble adoration of the One we are celebrating this Resurrection Sunday.
This is the Risen Lord we celebrate today, and the mighty name we proclaim. So as you go about whatever festivities and activities you have planned for this day, take a moment to reflect and ponder upon the finished work that was accomplished on the cross and in the empty tomb. Then as the wonder and glory of it all fills your soul, abandon your heart to worship, praising the Risen One for all that He is and all that He’s done. For Christ is risen…He’s risen indeed!
“The ground began to quake
The stone was rolled away
His perfect love has overcome
Now death where is your sting
Our resurrected King has rendered you defeated
Forever He is glorified
Forever He is lifted high
Forever He is risen
He is alive, He is alive”
~“Forever” by Kari Jobe
*Author’s Note: I originally posted this on my blog under the Girls Corner, but I also wanted to share this powerful sermon with my general readership. So I hope you enjoyed it (maybe for a second time!) and were as blessed and awed by it as I was when I first heard it.
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