Have you ever opened a gift or something that needed to be assembled, but when you open it you think there is something missing?
When we celebrate Easter, we often overlook what is really taking place on in the tomb. We get so excited about the events leading up to the crucifixion but spend little time regarding the tomb. Both are equally important.
Jesus blood shed on the cross was to pay for our sins. It was to redeem us from the sins that we have committed or will ever commit. It was for everyone including Adam and Eve. God’s purpose was to restore our relationship with Him.
Beginning with Adam and Eve, God illustrated the importance of the shedding of blood for the forgiveness of sin. In Genesis 3:20, the writer tells about God killing an animal to make a covering for Adam and Eve. Their knowledge told them they were naked and they were ashamed of their nakedness. They tried covering themselves with leaves. But the leaves were unacceptable for covering their nakedness; it required the shedding of blood.
Throughout the Old Testament the principle of shedding blood for sin was practiced in what they called the sin offering of the people.
In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. Hebrews 9:22(NIV)
On the cross, Jesus took the sin of the whole world on his shoulders. His blood was shed for the atonement of our sins. In other words, His blood was shed for the forgiveness of our sins past, present, and future. This in itself would have been a great gift, but it is not the complete gift God intended.
Today we are looking at the second part of the gift, the ‘missing’ part. In Luke 24, Luke is telling us of the events of the early morning of the third day after the crucifixion.
The women went to the tomb very early because they wanted to give Jesus the correct ceremonial preparation for burial. At this time, the women were expecting to find Jesus in the tomb. However, they had some concern about how they would get into the tomb. But when they got there, the stone had been rolled away. The gift was unwrapped.
When the women arrived at the tomb, God had already un-wrapped the gift. The large stone that secured the tomb had been rolled away. The gift had been exposed but the women still did not recognize what the gift was. All they saw was an empty tomb. They were deeply concerned, wondering what had happened to Jesus. They wanted the gift to match their expectations.
It was then that two men in gleaming clothes appeared to the women and said:
“Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” Luke 24:5b-7(NIV)
Jesus was not there. God had raised Jesus from the dead. Jesus was victorious over death. The sin of Adam and Eve that caused a spiritual separation between man and God had been overcome by Jesus. Jesus was alive. We can now enjoy a renewed relationship with God. We can now have the gift of eternal life with God our Father.
When Adam and Eve were placed in the Garden of Eden, there were two trees in the garden: The ‘tree of the knowledge of good and evil’ and the’ tree of life’.
When Adam and Eve sinned by eating of the ‘tree of good and evil’, God removed them from the Garden so they would not eat of the ‘tree of life’.
And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life. Genesis 3:22-24(NIV)
When Jesus shed his blood for the forgiveness of our sins, He forgave all the sins of men, including the sins of Adam and Eve. Jesus was victorious over death. The death that resulted from Adam and Eve eating of the’ tree of good and evil’, no longer has control of our lives. We now have access to the second tree, the ‘tree of life’. If we accept his gift, ‘the tree of life’, we will live forever with Him.
Prior to Jesus death, He told his disciples these words in John 14:1-3(NIV):
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
Because the tomb was empty, we also have the gift of an eternal home with Christ. Jesus had gone to prepare us a place, not just any place but a mansion.
Throughout the Old Testament, God promised his people that he was going to give them a Messiah. He was going to take care of his children. He promised to make the Children of Israel like the sands of the sea. Through the Prophets, God told what would happen in the future. He predicted that Jesus would be crucified and that he would prepare a place for those who believed in Him. Jesus kept all His promises mentioned in the Bible.
The women were so excited when they learned that Jesus was alive that they went to tell their friends the good news of salvation. They wanted to share their gift of the empty tomb.
“When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others.” John 14:9(NIV)
The other believers were still uncertain about the gift. They were confused. In fact Peter even ran back to the tomb to see for himself what had happened. Even though Jesus told them what would happen, they still were not ready for the gift that Jesus gave them
The women went to the tomb expecting to find Jesus’s body. It was not there.
Peter ran to the tomb hoping to see Jesus’s body. It was not there. Jesus was alive. He was victorious over death!
What would have happened if Jesus was still in the tomb? Where would you and I be today if the women would have found what they were expecting and Jesus was still in the tomb? Would they have had anything to tell the others? Would there be any hope for a future with God? If Jesus was still in the tomb, would you and I still be burdened with our past sin?
If Jesus were still in the tomb, we would have no hope for the future. Our life on earth would be futile. We would have nothing to live for and nothing to tell other that would allow them to get rid of their burden of sin and to enjoy the hope of eternal life with God. Jesus is our only hope.
If Jesus were still in the tomb, everything that God has promised in the Bible would be of no value, because we would not be able to believe any of the promises He made. But the good news is that Jesus was not there! He had been raised from the dead just as God had promised.
- God does keep his promises.
- God has forgiven our sin.
- God is preparing a place for us. And
- God is going to return to take us home with him.
Are you going to tell others about the gift in the empty tomb? The women were so excited about the gift that they hurried back to tell the others about the gift. Jesus is alive.
Jesus died on the cross to take care of our sinful past, but He was raised from the dead to prepare our future with Him. Have you accepted the ‘gift of the empty tomb’ or do you believe that Jesus is still in the tomb?
God wants to have a relationship with you.
Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” Genesis 3:8-9(NIV)
God had a relationship with Adam and Eve and was looking for them in the cool of the evening. God is looking for you too. He wants a relationship with you too. He was willing to send Jesus to the cross and raise him from the dead so that He can have a relationship with you. He wants to have an eternal relationship with you.
NOTE: All scripture used in this blog were from: www.biblegateway.com