Summary: This morning, I would like us to think about the promises of Easter. There are three of them. Each promise is marked by something empty. An empty cross, and empty tomb and empty burial clothes. It is the very fact that each of these is empty that assures
A Journey to Calvary; His Passion and our Deliverance Part 4
The Empty Promises of Easter
Am Service April 12th 2009 Easter
In our world, we are taught that; “if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is.” So many of us have been taken in by “empty promises,” that we are leery of anything or anyone that tells us we can have something for nothing.
THE WORLD SIMPLY DOESN’T WORK THAT WAY!
But, you know what – God does – God never made a promise that was too good to be true.
The truth of the matter is, the world is full of empty promises. We watch TV, and the advertisements tell us that we can be happy, sexy, rich, or famous, if we only purchase a certain product. It doesn’t take long before we have been fooled enough to know that the world’s promises are full of emptiness.
But, God is different. Instead of promises full of emptiness, on Easter, he gave us emptiness that is full of promise.
This morning, I would like us to think about the promises of Easter. There are three of them. Each promise is marked by something empty. An empty cross, and empty tomb and empty burial clothes. It is the very fact that each of these is empty that assures us that God’s promises are real.
Because they couldn’t hold Jesus, because he couldn’t be contained by the cross, the tomb, or even his burial clothes, we can be sure of the fullness of God’s promises in our lives.
Read Scriptures: Luke 24:1-12
I. The Empty Cross; Promises us forgiveness
Vs. 1 “On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb.”
Let’s go back, if we can, to that 1st Easter Morning. It is early morning – dawn – but the sun has not risen. A few of Jesus followers – women – are on their way to a tomb. It is the tomb where Jesus was buried. They have been walking now for about ½ hour. The conversation is subdued. The task before them is a sad one. They are going to anoint the body of Jesus. As they come to the top of a rise in the path, they all stop. Motionless and quiet, they stare off in the distance.
Just outside the city stands a gruesome reminder of the events of just a few days ago, on top of the Hill the locals call, “The Skull.” 3 Crosses.
Yesterday was the Sabbath, so nobody had yet removed them. So, there they stand, an empty reminder of the horror of Friday. It was there Jesus died.
Don’t ever believe anyone who tells you he was just faking it. There was no question – Jesus was dead. The soldiers knew it, the Romans knew it, the Jews knew it.
Together, they made up a lie – the disciples stole the body. Can you imagine 11 fishermen overpowering a company of Roman soldiers, moving a 2 ton stone and stealing the body of Jesus – just so they could claim he had come back to life – and then willingly die to protect that lie.
You see, Jesus really did die – that is why I want you to see the cross this morning. It is the place where he died – but today, it is empty. Empty of Jesus body, but full – full of God’s promises. Full of hope – for you and me.
The promise of the empty cross is that you and I stand forgiven. Because it was on that cross that Jesus paid the penalty for our sins.
It was on that cross that Jesus Christ offered his perfect, sinless life on behalf of each one of us. No one else – not Moses or Abraham, not David or Isaiah, not Muhammad or Buddha – no one else has ever lived perfectly and then offered his perfect life for our salvation. That is why the Bible tells us that “there is no other name given under heaven by which we can be saved.”
When Jesus Christ breathed his last, he cried out; “It is finished.” The penalty was paid. On that cross – that empty cross – It was there, that his blood was spilt for our salvation.
Before that fateful Friday, God could open the books and look up each name, and written in black were the words – “guilt of sin.” But when Jesus went to the cross, God literally transferred our accounts to His name. On that day, across every name of the person that has placed there faith and trust in Him – he wrote – in Jesus blood – “Forgiven – Forgiven – Forgiven.”