Summary: The cross and the empty tomb. What do they mean? Why are they so significant to us today?
The Cross and the Empty Tomb
by Greg Johnson
The cross and the empty tomb. What do they mean? Why are they so significant to us today?
In the 1800’s Ralph E. Hudson wrote the chorus to the sacred hymn "At the Cross." He wrote "At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light, and the burden of my heart rolled away. It was there by faith I received my sight, and now I am happy all the day!"
It is at the cross that we realize how much God loves us. God’s Word, the Bible says "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8 NIV) God showed us at the cross how much He loves us. He sent Jesus, His son to earth to die on a cross for us. Jesus was born to die. Jesus was born to die so that we can have eternal life!
Beloved, we have done nothing to deserve such love. We can do nothing to earn such love. It’s an unconditional love that God has poured out on us. He loves us and accepts us "as is." "While we sere still sinners," Jesus died for us. He could have called ten thousand angels to His rescue and escaped the cross, but God’s love for us kept Him fastened to the cross. It wasn’t the nails that kept Him there. It was God’s love for you.
It’s at the cross of Christ that we experience forgiveness of sins. Our sins are what placed Jesus on the cross yet we hear Him say from the cross "Father forgive them." Every sin that we have ever committed is what nailed Jesus to the cross and He died for the forgiveness of sins. We are no more innocent than the crowd that shouted "crucify Him." We are no more innocent than the ones who condemned Him to death. We are no more innocent than the Roman Soldiers who beat Him. But yet we are forgiven.
It’s at the cross we are justified. The Word of God says "Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!" (Romans 5:9 NIV) God’s Word declares "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God," (Romans 3:23 NIV). "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6:23 NIV)
Beloved, we all have sinned and we all deserve the penalty of sin which is death. But God who is full of love, mercy and grace sent Jesus. Jesus bore on the cross every sin we have committed and He took our punishment for us. Jesus shed His blood to justify us. It’s only by the blood of Christ that we are justified. Being justified does not mean we are not guilty. We are guilty, but by the blood of Christ we are declared blameless by a just God and there is no death penalty! Praise be to God! We are justified through the blood of the Lamb!
It’s at the cross we are reconciled to God. As sinners we deserve God’s wrath, but God reconciles us to Himself through Jesus and what He did for us at the cross. It’s at the cross where God draws us to Him. At the cross God loves us. At the cross God forgives us. At the cross God justifies us. At the cross God draws us close to Him. We are reconciled to God through Jesus! Thank God for the Cross! We must constantly spend time at the cross. We must visit the cross daily.
George Bennard wrote the hymn "The Old Rugged Cross." Listen to the words of the chorus: "So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross. Till my trophies at last I lay down; I will cling to the old rugged cross, and exchange it some day for a crown." Beloved on your journey from earth to glory, cling to the cross of Christ. As you do, God will draw you close to Him.
The empty tomb
As we spend time at the cross and visit it daily, we go a little further and we peer into the empty tomb. Praise God the tomb is empty! Death could not hold it’s prey! Up from the grave He arose! Jesus is alive and we serve the risen Lord!
We are saved through Jesus’ life. God’s Word says "For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!" (Romans 5:10 NIV) Jesus said "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die." (John 11:25-26 NIV) The empty tomb points to the resurrection of our body! Praise God, we get new bodies that are incorruptible and imperishable.