Summary: By looking again at the empty tomb we are going to learn 5 lessons to encourage and motivate God's children.
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Look Again at the Empty Tomb
Scripture Reference: Luke 24:1-9
Preached at Mount Zion Baptist Church on April 19, 2019
Delivered by Rev. John Daniel Johnson
Usually around this time of the year (Easter) I hear a lot of idle babblings and read a few Facebook posts of people trying to explain to me where the name Easter came from. I’ve heard everything that Easter is nothing more than a pagan holiday, and the emperor Constantine adopted this name for the Christian festival. I’ve heard that this day is named after Ishtar, the Babylonian goddess of sex, fertility, and temple prostitution. I’ve heard some stories that the name Easter came from a Germany festival called Oschter, where it is believed that a mythical rabbit lays multicolored eggs. The rabbit would lay these eggs in a nest, and from this idea we invented the idea of a rabbit bringing eggs in a basket to children.
My brothers and sisters, the name of the celebration is not important. The name is not what defines the day. It is what happened on this special day that should make it important to us. You can call it Easter, Resurrection Day, or just Sunday. The name is not what is important, the event is what matters.
Point—Don’t let the label that the world has given you define who you are! The world may call you worthless, untalented, dumb…but those labels are given by man. The label that God gave you is that you are His child!
So let’s look into God’s Word to see what actually took place on this special day so many years ago. Read Luke 24.
Can you imagine it?! Can even for a moment imagine what those women felt—what they thought—what they themselves imagined—when they got to that tomb . . . and THEY FOUND IT EMPTY! What must have gone through their minds? Did they think they were dreaming? Did they think they might have come to the wrong tomb? After all, it was early in the morning; perhaps not even completely light out yet.
We’ve all been to our fair share of funerals. It is never a fun moment to visit the grave of a loved one. Emotions run high. Tears trickle down from our eyes. It is often a sad time in which you remember the life of the person that had passed away. There’s no doubt these ladies were experiencing this same type of emotion. Only a couple of day prior, these ladies had lost one of their relatives, their best friend, and their source of hope.
Then Luke uses this word to describe the women's emotion. Luke states that these women were "perplexed." This is one of those Greek words that is often hard to explain in the English language and loses some of the emotion conveyed in the word. This word literally means that they were in complete shock, fear, baffled, and terrified. I mean wouldn’t you be in complete shock to go visit the grave of a loved one and find the grave empty?
But then—and again try to imagine this—then there are these two men standing there telling them that “he isn’t here, but is risen.” And to top it off, both of these men are dazzling bright in appearance. If these women weren’t terrified before, they probably were at this point. They had to be wondering just what was going on.
It didn’t take these women very long to figure things out. Luke tells us that once these angels had reminded these women of what Jesus had said about his own passion and death and resurrection; they left all their doubts behind. They weren’t perplexed; they weren’t apprehensive; and they weren’t fearful. They knew absolutely what that empty tomb meant, and they headed straight out to share the Good News with Christ’s disciples.
Song—“Because He Lives”
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow
Because He lives, all fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living
Just because He lives
What’s important for us today is to understand the meaning of the empty tomb…When you think of a graveyard, or a tomb, what do you think of? Most likely you think of death. However, is that what graveyard should tell us? This morning we are going to look at the tomb, not as the symbol of death, but to how powerful our God is.
Point—When you look at a volcano, it tells you that there is fire underneath that is just poised ready to go off. When you look at a bird egg in a nest, it just tells you that there is going to spring forth life one day. When you see the rays of the sun breaking over the horizon, it only tells you that the sun’s coming up. When you see the graveyard, it ought to remind us it’s just a temporary place. The spirit has departed, the body is at rest, but one day Christ will return and raise those who are dead in Christ. The grave should always tell you that Jesus is not done.