The tomb is empty – so our lives can be full

Faith & Reflection

The resurrection of Jesus is at the heart of the Christian faith and more than 300 New Testament verses address the topic.

In fact 1 Corinthians 15:19 states, “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.”

But from the outset there have been those who have tried to deny this truth.

The first attempt was made by the religious leaders of Jesus’ day.

Roman guards came to them, excitedly sharing news of an angelic appearance and Jesus’ disappearance from a sealed, guarded tomb. The leaders bribed the guards with money and admonished them to say, “His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept” (Matthew 28:13).

Since then, many theories have been espoused by those who deny that Jesus was raised from the dead.

The vision theory says that the resurrection belief was based on visions of ghostlike appearances of Jesus.

Some believe that His disciples stole His body.

A similar theory alleges that His followers forgot which tomb He had been placed in and He was simply never found.

The swoon theory says that Jesus wasn’t completely dead and revived later in the tomb. Akin to the swoon theory is that Jesus was drugged and only appeared to be dead.

The twin theory suggests (though never mentioned anywhere else) that Jesus had a twin who pretended to be Him after His death.

Frankly, I think the foregoing theories require greater faith and more imagination than to simply accept the biblical and historical record that Jesus rose from the dead!

At the core of the denials and doubts is the belief that miracles simply don’t happen. But I disagree.

I grew up on a farm where seeds placed in the ground died and brought forth crops. Just this morning, I watched a nine-minute online video of the metamorphosis of a monarch butterfly; miraculous! I have held newborn babies in my arms and currently await the imminent arrival of a grandchild.

We live in a world of miracles. We simply take them for granted. They are considered natural, but I think of them as naturally supernatural!

I have no doubt that Jesus rose from the dead.

And may I suggest that the angel rolled the stone away from the door of the tomb, not so Jesus could get out, but so we could look in. Perhaps you should take a peek, But remember, the tomb is empty, and it is that way so that our hearts and lives can be full!

“…Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen!” (Luke 24:5, 6).

— Pastor Ross Helgeton is senior pastor at Erskine Evangelical Free Church.