Summary: An Easter Sermon about no need for a gravestone because the "tomb is empty"!
I. Used Tombstone...Real Bargain (1)
Dr. Paul Stuckey is pastor at Grace United Methodist Church in Dayton, Ohio. He tells the story of an eye-catching ad in a Milwaukee, Wisconsin, newspaper’s classified section. Big, bold letters advertised "Used
Tombstone. " The ad’s text read as follows: "Used tombstone for sale. Real bargain to someone named ‘Dingo’. For more information call..."
The image of a used tombstone may at first seem grim and depressing. But think again: a "used" tombstone means that its previous owner no longer has any need for it. It is a castoff, an unnecessary item.
Christ’s resurrection conveys the same message: the tomb is empty! The stone that closed the grave is no longer needed! Jesus Christ is Risen!
What is Possible When there is Hope
(2) Joyce Hollyday tells the story of a school teacher who was assigned to visit children in a large city hospital who received a routine call requesting
that she visit a particular child. The teacher took the boy’s name and room number, and was told by the teacher on the other end of the line, "We’re studying nouns and adverbs in this class now. I’d be grateful if you could help him with his homework, so he
doesn’t fall behind the others."
It wasn’t until the visiting teacher got outside the boy’s room that she realized that it was located in the hospital’s burn unit. No one had prepared her to find a young boy horribly burned and in great pain.
The teacher felt that she couldn’t just turn around and walk out. And so she stammered awkwardly, "I’m the hospital teacher, and your teacher sent me to
help you with nouns and adverbs." This boy was in so much pain that he barely responded. The young teacher stumbled through his English lesson, ashamed at putting him through such a senseless exercise.
The next morning a nurse on the burn unit asked her, "What did you do to that boy?" Before the teacher could finish her outburst of apologies, the
nurse interrupted her: "You don’t understand. We’ve been very worried about him. But ever since you were here yesterday, his whole attitude has changed.
He’s fighting back; he’s responding to treatment. It’s as if he has decided to live."
The boy later explained that he had completely given up hope until he saw the teacher. It all changed when he came to a simple realization. With joyful tears, the boy said: "They wouldn’t send a teacher to work on nouns and adverbs with a boy who was dying, would they?"
This wonderful story invites us to celebrate the gift of life even when all we seem to see around us is pain and disappointment and brokenness. It shows us that on the other side of pain, there is resurrection. It reminds us of what is possible whenever there is hope.
Someone once asked: How do we believe in the resurrection? And then they answered:
1. First, I would say that I believe in the resurrection because somebody told me about it.
2. Second, I would say that I believe in the resurrection because it has stood the test of time.
3. Third, I believe in the resurrection because I have experienced it.
"Islam is a religion in which God requires you to send your son to die for him. Christianity is a faith in which God sends his son to die for you." Cal Thomas, a radio commentator, who claims that John Ashcroft made this statement, though Ashcroft has denied it.
(3) "Some of us stay at the cross,
some of us wait at the tomb,
Quickened and raised with Christ
yet lingering still in the gloom.
Some of us ’bide at the Passover feast
with Pentecost all unknown,
The triumphs of grace in the heavenly place
that our Lord has made His own.
If the Christ who died had stopped at the cross,
His work had been incomplete.
If the Christ who was buried had stayed in the tomb,
He had only known defeat,
But the way of the cross never stops at the cross
and the way of the tomb leads on
To victorious grace in the heavenly place
where the risen Lord has gone."
(1) - Brett Blair www.eSermons.com, March 2002. Adapted from several sources.
(2) - Donald William Dotterer, Living The Easter Faith, CSS Publishing Company,
(3) Annie Johnson Flint