March 2013

The Empty Tomb

We know that “Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sins”, but what is the significance of the empty tomb three days later?  What do we want our children to know and to believe about Jesus’s resurrection from the dead?

First, we want to dispel the notion that “Jesus may have been a real man, a very good man, but there’s no way he came back from the dead.”  Jesus spent 40 days after his resurrection meeting with people—Mary Magdalene, two disciples walking to Emmaus, ten of the disciples, and  Thomas (who had declared he would never believe in Jesus’ resurrection unless he could see Jesus for himself).  Paul later wrote (I Corinthians 15) that Jesus had been seen by more than 500 witnesses, many of whom were still alive (at the time of Paul’s letter) to testify to Jesus’ resurrection.  Another evidence of Jesus’ resurrection is the transformation of lives.  The eleven disciples were afraid when Jesus was arrested, crushed when he was killed, but bold in teaching about him after he rose.  James, the brother of Jesus, did not believe in Jesus as savior until after Jesus rose from the dead.  Paul hated Jesus and Christians until he met the risen Jesus. 

More important than knowing that Jesus did rise from the dead is the answer to the question:  so what?  What is the significance?  Jesus predicted his death and his resurrection (Matthew 16), and fulfilled both.  If we can trust Jesus to keep these amazing predictions, we trust every promise he made.  Jesus’ resurrection gives us confidence to trust him.  Jesus’ rising from the dead is his final victory over sin, over death, over Satan!  The victory is shared with us.  We, too, are victorious over Satan, over death itself.  The empty tomb is our symbol of victory!  We celebrate on Easter Sunday that Jesus’ victory over death is our victory...and the beginning of a life with him that will never ever end!

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