Summary: “He’s alive, the tomb is empty. Jesus is alive. He has risen from the grave”
Easter an empty tomb not empty promises
It’s Easter Sunday evening on the 16th April 2017, but I want you to imagine it’s very early on the first Easter Sunday Morning, nearly 2000 years ago.
Imagine you are one of the disciples of Jesus and you wake up in a cold sweat remembering the horror of what had happened on Friday.
Your friend, your teacher, the one you gave up everything to follow is dead.
Crucified like a common criminal.
If only you could have done something.
If only the crowd had let Him go instead of that murderer Barabas.
Your shouts of “let Jesus go, He has done nothing wrong!”
Had been drowned out by the screams of the crowd yelling “Crucify Him, crucify Him! We will take responsibility for his death—we and our children! His blood be on us and on our children!”
You watched as He was beaten, you watched as a crown of thorns was pushed into His brow.
You watched as He was forced to carry the heavy wood of His cross to Golgotha, the place of the skull.
You watched as the soldiers nailed His hands and feet to the cross and raised it up into its stand.
You cried as you watched His last hours of pain and suffering till He shouted “It is finished” and breathed His last breath.
As He died, it felt like something inside you had died as well.
Your dreams shattered, your hope turned into fear, your purpose now purposless, everything gone.
For three years you had been His disciple.
How the days had flown by, it seems like only yesterday when He had asked you to follow Him and become a fisher of men.
You had listened to His every word as He spoke to you and as He spoke to crowds of people throughout the region.
Though if you are honest, there were times when you really didn’t understand what He was saying and you were always pleased He took the time to explain His words to you and the other disciples.
All He had wanted was everything, and you gave it.
All he had asked was that you believe and oh how you had believed.
You had seen the impossible,
you had seen blind men see,
you had seen lame men walk,
and you had even seen Lazarus, a dead man, live again.
You had believed with all your heart, but not any more, your belief was as dead as your master.
As you lay on your bed, you begin to cry again, seems like that is all you have done since Thursday night.
You think about your past, your present, even your future.
There is nothing left now, all you can do is go home,
to leave Jerusalem, to leave your hopes,
to leave your dreams and just go home.
You might as well try and recover your yesterdays,
try and go back to the life you had before.
Your dreams are as dead as Jesus in His borrowed tomb.
Captured, beaten, crucified, dead and buried.
But then you hear a shout from outside,
“He’s alive, the tomb is empty. Jesus is alive.
He has risen from the grave”
What? Can it be?
Suddenly your heart is filled with fresh hope.
You jump from your bed and rush out to discover the two Mary’s had seen an empty tomb.
Mary had seen empty grave clothes and then Mary had seen Jesus.
Jesus wasn’t dead, Jesus was alive.
Jesus was alive & everything was going to be ok.
Imagine you were His disciple that morning,
instead of mourning His death, you are celebrating His resurrection, you are celebrating Him being alive.
The sadness of Jesus’ death on the cross and crushed dreams are shattered.
Instead there is joy, exhilaration and peace.
Your focus, our focus has changed, it is not on death it’s on life.
Jesus is alive and the tomb is empty.
There is purpose, there is a future, there is hope.
If Jesus’ story had ended at the cross, hope would have died with him. But it didn’t.
Without the Resurrection following Jesus would be pointless. Belief in the Resurrection is central to the Christian faith.
We believe as did the early church that Christ has risen from the dead, there was actually a physical resurrection.
The miracle of the Resurrection really happened.
When we look back on the events of that first Easter, we are looking at more than events in history,
the events of Easter changed history,
the events of Easter changed our destiny.
In Romans 4:25 The Bible says Jesus was handed over to die because of our sins, and He was raised to life to make us right with God.
Listen to Romans 6:3-11, Have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in His death? 4 For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And Just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.