Summary: An Easter morning message concentrating on the empty tomb and what it means to Christians today.
What makes a good sermon? It is one that will take you to the valley of sinful despair, and then transports you to the top of the hill in praise! It will make you drop to your knees in sorrowful repentance, and then bring you up to jumping with joy! It is one that makes you cry over the sin in your life and then shows you the happiness found in forgiveness in Jesus.
But most of all, no matter where it takes you, when it ends, you will always find yourself feeling closer to Jesus Christ than you were before you heard it.
There may not be much jumping and falling today, and there may not be much laughter and crying, but I sincerely hope that by the end of this sermon, you will find yourself closer to Christ than you were before you heard it.
Let’s start by reading our main text this morning.
‘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. They found the stone rolled away from he tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.’
’While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright, the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; He has risen!’
’Remember how He told you, while He was till with you in Galilee: The son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.” Then they remembered His words.’
The resurrection cannot be reduced to a philosophy. We are not asked to believe the doctrine of the resurrection: We are asked to meet the Person who was resurrected’ the One who was raised from the dead. By being willing to listen to the story of Jesus, we are taken from the position of not really believing; to a position of realizing that the truth is a Person. And it is through that realization of who Jesus really is that we actually meet Him. But how can we meet Him if He is not alive? Factually speaking, Jesus is very much alive, and He continues to work in our lives yet today!
This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice, and be happy in it! This Easter Sunday, and all over the world, Christian preachers are preaching on one subject: The Empty Tomb. This morning, Christians everywhere will be asking the same question and receiving the same good news: ’Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!’
Years ago there was a story about a judge in Yugoslavia who had an accident. He was electrocuted when he reached up to turn on a light while he was standing in his bathtub. His wife found him and called for help. The firemen pronounced him dead at the scene and took him to a funeral home. The local radio station broadcast the story over the airwaves. The whole town was in shock upon hearing about him. But that isn’t the end of the story.
In the middle of the night, lying in the funeral home waiting to be embalmed the judge suddenly came to. The room was dark and he was disoriented and had no idea where he was. He stumbled down the hall in the dark and woke up a student, who lived at the funeral home while he was learning the business. As you might imagine, the young man had the most adverse of reactions to seeing the judge. He ran from the house in his pajamas, screaming and terrified.
Then the judge phoned his wife to get her to come pick him up but she screamed and fainted. Next he tried calling a couple of his friends but they all thought it was some sort of prank and hung up on him. Finally, he called a friend in the next town that hadn’t heard of his death, and he came over to get him and take him to his family to convince them he was not dead after all.
Christianity, from it earliest days, has claimed that another man awoke from death too. He also found Himself in a dark room, but He was not disoriented. This man wasn’t just any man, however, He was Christ Jesus, the Savior – and the Son of the living God. And when he arose from the grave, he arose to a new life in a glorified body, never to die again. And skeptics, just like the skeptics in that judge’s town, have had trouble believing the story ever since.