Summary: Because Jesus rose from the dead – so will we. We can look our ancient enemy death, straight in the eye and say, I’m not scared of you.Christians don’t stay in their tombs when they die. Neither are they meant to live in tombs while they are alive.
The Tomb is Empty - Matt. 28:1-10
Tombs, graves, cemeteries, burial places
Every town in Australia – from major cities to your average one horse – 4 pub outback town
They call them the dead center of town
In my family, we have a running joke that when we drive past a cemetery, someone asks, ‘How many people are dead in that one?’
ANSWER – ‘All of them’
But it’s true isn’t it – tombs are for people who have died,
And wherever you travel around the world – you’ll find more.
Every nation under the sun has devised means of ‘entombing’ the remains of our dearly departed.
Some of these tombs have become major tourist sites because of the importance of the person buried there.
And some are totally majestic pieces of architecture – places like the…
Pyramids and Tombs of Egypt
Lenin’s Tomb - Red Square in Moscow
Tombs of the Ming Dynasty in China
South America – Tombs of the Incas and the Aztecs.
All of these tombs – as well as the graves of our own loved ones – are sacred because of who or what they contain.
But I want to say to you that the Most sacred – the most important tomb and the one that has had the greatest impact in our world by far – is a simple unmarked cave somewhere near Jerusalem.
Why is this tomb so great – so important?
Not because of the remains of the person who was buried there – not because it is an important piece of architecture.
This tomb is important simply because it is empty.
The person who occupied it – Jesus, a humble carpenter of Nazareth, is no longer there; In fact he only had a really short lease on the place.
This humble carpenter was executed for making extravagant claims. He claimed to be the Son of God
From the day of His crucifixion (Good Friday) - To that first Easter morning – the day we now know as Easter Sunday,
only three days had elapsed – Three days for the humble carpenter of Nazareth to rise form the dead and check out of His tomb.
And now His tomb stands empty:
An empty tomb – which has become the foundation upon which our faith is built.
An empty tomb – a sign for us that God’s plan of salvation is complete.
An empty tomb – which stands as an unshakable testimony that Jesus of Nazareth is who He said He was – the Son of God and the Savior of all who believe.
And because of that empty tomb - the world has never been the same.
But for many people on that first Easter morning, the world was no different than it had always been.
Except for a handful of women and the remaining 11 disciples, no one really cared about the humble carpenter of Nazareth.
But gradually, over the past 2000 years, His followers have grown in number until over half of the world’s population claim Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of their lives.
Why? How do we explain it?
As Max Lucado writes in his book – ‘He chose the nails’, ‘Jesus was a backwater peasant. He never wrote a book, never held an office. He never journeyed more than two hundred miles from His hometown. Friends left Him. One betrayed Him. Those He helped forgot Him. Prior to His death they abandoned Him. But after His death they couldn’t resist Him. What made the difference?’
The answer: ‘The Tomb was Empty’
When He died so did our sin – When He rose so did our hope.
No other religious leader, no other person in the history of the world can make that claim.
Because Jesus rose from the dead – so will we.
We can look our ancient enemy death, straight in the eye and say, I’m not scared of you.
Christians don’t stay in their tombs when they die.
Neither are they meant to live in tombs while they are alive.
But I hear you say to me – Back up the hearse there a minute, I don’t live in a tomb!
The truth is that from time to time we all live in tombs – some we create ourselves – some are created for us by others.
Let me explain
The book of Genesis contains the story of a young boy named Joseph – a boy with big dreams.
His brothers didn’t care much for him or his dreams and so they thought up a way to get rid of him.
Firstly, they threw him into a pit (a kind of tomb) and told their father that he was dead.
But God had plans for young Joseph and he didn’t die in the pit – instead he was sold as a slave to an Egyptian family.