Summary: Easter service 2017

“He is risen”

“3 times empty equals full”

How many of your have stood in shock and disbelief

After opening an envelope that you thought contained a check

Only you find it empty

Just an empty envelope in one hand

And envelopes filled with bills in the other

Wondering how you were going to pay them?

Or opened a gift box

Wrapped in pretty paper

Only to find that the gift that was supposed to be inside was missing

And the box was empty

How many of you have bought a new bull, turned him out

Waiting for the cows to be bred long enough to palpate anticipating the calf crop that might sell for enough to pay the loan on the cows – at least part of it

And when you did they were all open

Just empty

Or needed to get somewhere so bad when the gage on your old truck hit E and

---They will flash--- West at camp

You realized you were miles from where you needed to be

And you were empty

Empty is usually not always a good thing

Think of some empty promises that were made to you

Someone said they would do something

---Love you till death do you part-- Maybe

And then they split

Another said they would be there for you through thick and thin

And then it gets just a little skinny

And they’re gone

Just another empty promise

Some of you may have had a loved or friend who

Made promises they could not or would not keep

Just empty promises

So many of us have been taken in by “empty promises,” that we are leery of anything or anyone that tells us we can have something for nothing.

The truth of the matter is, the world is full of empty promises.

We watch TV, and the advertisements tell us that we can be happy, sexy, rich, or famous, if we only purchase a certain product, just empty promises.

It doesn’t take long before we have been fooled enough to know that the world’s promises are full of emptiness.

Sometimes if it has happened enough

We lose trust and think all promises will be empty


God never made a promise that was too good to be true.

You see God is different.

Instead of promises full of emptiness like the world often gives us

On a cool morning 2000 years ago

The first Easter morning

God gave us emptiness that is full of promise.

Poem by Phillips Brooks

Tomb, You shall not hold Him longer,

Death is strong, but life is stronger

Stronger than the dark, the light;

Stronger than the wrong, the right;

Faith and hope triumphant say; Christ will rise on Easter Day.

While the patient earth lies waiting

Till the morning shall be breaking

Shuddering beneath the burden dread

Of her Master, cold and dead,

Hark! she hears the angels say; Christ will rise on Easter Day.

And when sunrise smites the mountains

Pouring light from heavenly fountains

Then the earth blooms out to greet

Once again the blessed feet;

And her countless voices say; Christ has risen on Easter Day.

John 20:1-8

“Early on Sunday morning,[a] while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. 2 She ran and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved. She said, “They have taken the Lord’s body out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”

3 Peter and the other disciple started out for the tomb. 4 They were both running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He stooped and looked in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he didn’t go in. 6 Then Simon Peter arrived and went inside. He also noticed the linen wrappings lying there, 7 while the cloth that had covered Jesus’ head was folded up and lying apart from the other wrappings. 8 Then the disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in, and he saw and believed—“

This morning, I would like us to think about the promises of Easter.

There are three of them.

Each promise is marked by something empty.

An empty cross

An empty tomb


Empty burial clothes.


The fact that each of these is empty that assures us that God’s promises are real.


Because God promised to save us through his one and only son Jesus

And because the cross could not hold him

Because the tomb could not contain him

And the burial clothes were not needed

We can be sure of the fullness of God’s promises in our lives.

Let’s begin with the empty cross.

Because the cross was empty, we have the promise of forgiven sins.

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