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Summary: The empty tomb means: 1) He’s alive! 2) You’re forgiven 3) It’s okay

The empty tomb- what does it mean? Lk24:1-12 WBC 31/3/2am (Easter Sunday)

INTRO:

ILL.- Mary Louise Duggard, age 8 said of Easter, "You get eggs, and you remember God." Not bad!

Jamila Young-Hogan, age 4,. said, "It’s the day that God woke up." Again, not bad.

Amanda Ward, age 7, said, "It’s when Jesus got alive."

ILL.- A group of four-year-old children were in Sunday School in a church in Chattanooga, TN. The teacher asked the class, "Does anyone know what today is?"

One child said, "Today is Palm Sunday." The teacher exclaimed,

"That’s fantastic. Now does anyone know what next Sunday is?"

The same little girl held up her hand and said, "Yes, next Sunday is Easter." "Great," the teacher said and "what does that mean?" The little girl said, "Easter is when Jesus came forth from the grave BUT IF HE SEES HIS SHADOW, HE WILL HAVE TO GO BACK IN FOR 7 WEEKS." (groundhog day!)

And a little four-year-old boy whose father was a funeral director was puzzled one Easter morning when he was told about the resurrection of Christ. He asked, "Do you mean that Jesus really rose from the dead?"

"Oh, yes" the teacher said. The boy shook his head and replied, "I KNOW MY DADDY DIDN’T TAKE CARE OF HIM BECAUSE IF HE HAD, HE’D NEVER GET UP AGAIN!"

So, what does the empty tomb mean?

1) He’s alive!

It means He’s alive! He came back to life and is alive NOW

- I don’t know any other way of explaining it

- Who else had the body? (Romans- why? Jews- produce it. Disciples- why die for it?!)

- How come SO many people said they had seen Him (1 Cor 15:6)

- How come so many have been changed by Him since

- (beyond what you would get as a psychological phenomenon)

Now: following Jesus… believing in God takes faith

- so there is always room for faith/doubt

 but THIS event takes you the furthest I know into fact.

- into objective verifiability

- Sunday Times article, Easter 97- 50% of UK population surveyed believe Jesus rose from the dead.

Professor Thomas Arnold, headmaster of rugby school, revolutionised education, appointed to the chair of modern history at oxford university: “I have been used for many years to studying the histories of other times, and to examining and weighing the evidence of those who have written about them, and I know of no one fact in the history of mankind which is proved by better and fuller evidence of every sort, to the understanding of a fair inquirer, than the great sign which God has given us that Christ died and rose again from the dead’ “

The empty tomb has a message for us.

- To science and philosophy it says, "Explain this event."

- To history it says, "Repeat this event."

- To time it says, "Blot out this event."

To faith it says, "Believe this event."

Of course- some would say, nobody had the body. He didn’t die. He swooned.

One lady wrote in to a question and answer forum. "Dear Sirs, my friend said that at Easter, that Jesus just swooned on the cross and that the disciples nursed Him back to health. What do you think? Sincerely, Bewildered.

Dear Bewildered, Beat your friend with a cat-of-nine-tails with 39 heavy strokes, nail him to a cross; hang him in the sun for 6 hours; run a spear thru his side...put him in an airless tomb for 36 hours and see what happens." Sincerely, Charles.

But it seems to me the whole thing is virtually water-tight. So that the foundational thing of our faith would be rock-solid… and so that enquirers would see the light when they look into the empty tomb

Donald Grey Barnhouse: ’The angel rolled away the stone from Jesus’ tomb, not to let the living Lord out, but to let unconvinced outsiders in’

That those who look into this… the empty tomb… will see that: the Lord… your Lord… Jesus is ALIVE

- death could not hold Him because of

- who He is. God in the flesh. Sinless. LIFE in Himself

This is SO tremendously important.

= central, fundamental to our faith (some things aren’t)

= central to the ch’s faith

Here’s what Cambridge scholar N.T Wright has to say about the subject, "Why did Christianity arise, and why did it take the shape it did? The early Christians themselves reply: ’We exist because of Jesus’ resurrection….’ There is no evidence for a form of early Christianity in which the resurrection was not a central belief. Nor was this belief, as it were, bolted on to Christianity at the edge. It was the central driving force, informing the whole movement."

It means

- this man was who He said He was/is

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