Summary: An Easter Sermon about the meaning of "empty" and how significant it is.
PARROTTSVILLE COMMUNITY SUNRISE SERVICE 2001
IT WAS EMPTY
INTRODUCTION / ILLUSTRATION… $25,000 Pyramid (p)
Does anyone here enjoy game shows? They are definitely fun to watch. I think that my most favorite ones to sit down and watch would have to be “The Price is Right” and “Jeopardy.” Those two shows are still on the air and if I have a day off, I will usually watch a little. One of my favorites that is no longer on the air was hosted by Dick Clark called “$25,000 Pyramid.” This is a game where you describe a word for a player without saying the word. It is much like the board game Taboo.
I’d like to try a few words out on you this morning:
“DOG” “FIRE” “EMPTY”
shaggy burn my stomach
canine hot without
man’s best friend flames void
To be honest, it is the last word that concerns us today. Easter is all about celebrating emptiness. That really sounds quite strange when you think about it. Who in their right mind celebrates emptiness? I submit to you this morning that Easter is a celebration of emptiness.
But before we discover why Easter is about emptiness, I want to take a short look at some meanings of the word empty:
First, empty means void. Nothingness. A place can be void of something. A bowl or some other kind of container can be empty. My car often runs on empty meaning I have no gas! Young men going on a date may arrive empty handed, meaning they brought nothing for the young lady. A person’s stomach can be empty to mean they are hungry. Empty means there should be something there, but is not.
READ GENESIS 37:18-24
Our man Joseph was cast into this pit and Scripture remarks that it was empty because there was no water in it. Joseph was cast into a large underground cistern, which was used to catch the rainwater. It was deep in the ground and the walls would have been smooth. It obviously had no rained in awhile or Joseph would have been in danger of drowning, but he didn’t for it was empty.
Empty also has another meaning. It can relate to a person’s emotional state or their actions. It does not necessarily have to do with a thing, but more with a person. It is an emotional state.
READ RUTH 1:19-22
Naomi is a woman who had known sorrow. In the span of a few years she had left home, lost her husband and two sons. She originally left her home because of a famine and now returned home an empty woman. She felt as though she had nothing. Her emotions were drained and she felt empty. She had emptied herself during those years of sorrow and now she had nothing left. She said she had emptied herself so much that she was no longer Naomi, but to call her Mara.
So, we have two ideas about the meaning of the word “empty.” And now I want to share with you why Easter is a celebration of emptiness. The first idea we find in Luke 24:1-6.
READ LUKE 24:1-6
They went to the tomb and it was empty! Now, when I say empty, what do I really mean? I mean that what was supposed to be there wasn’t. There was no body! The women saw the stone rolled away and looked inside and to their horror Jesus’ body was gone. It was gone! The tomb was empty! Why? How? Who? The answers came (verse 6) when the angels told them, “He is not here, but is risen.” What was supposed to be there wasn’t and so they had to go and look for Jesus elsewhere.
The second meaning of empty we find in Philippians 2:5-11
READ PHILIPPIANS 2:5-11
We must notice verse 8. We are told that Jesus “humbled” Himself and became obedient to the point of death. All technical jargon aside, the idea we get is that Jesus emptied Himself of all that He was in order to come to Earth. He was “in the form of God” and then took the form of a little baby and was a servant. Jesus emptied Himself of what He was in Heaven so that He could come to Earth and save us.
We celebrate emptiness because:
· The tomb was empty and so salvation was possible
· Jesus emptied Himself and so salvation was possible