Summary: How can the empty tomb have an affect on my daily life? It more than mere possibility. The empty tomb is fact.
UNDERSTANDING THE EMPTY TOMB
Read John 19:40 thru 20:1-2. You may be asking the question, “How can an empty tomb affect my life today?” Frankly, you may say, so what! I don’t understand the resurrection!
We are whipped by sin and death…. we sometimes tremble at its thought; and most of us have been affected by it in some way. It’s a double threat. Why do we not recognize that Jesus conquered sin and death?
We wish that we had some hope in our lives. Some light at the end of the tunnel. We might even feel defeated at times in life. Sometimes we feel like we want to just end the pain. But why do we not know that Jesus has restored hope and seen that He is a Light breaking through the darkness?
We sometimes lose faith in those around us! We lose faith in many things; so much so that we fail to care anymore. But why do we not understand that Jesus can build our faith?
We entertain the idea of resurrection and we rest with the impossibility of it. How could it be that anybody was raised to life again? Even in our modern world of life after death stories; we just wink at the possibility that real resurrection could be possible. Why do we not recognize that Jesus has power over death and life? Not only was Jesus the first to be resurrected; He wants to resurrect your life!
What is the reason for understanding the empty tomb? Think about the wonder of it! Clearly, we are here on a special day! It should mean something to us! I am going to recount for you today; eyewitness testimony of the power of Jesus.
Propositional Statement: We can use John 20:9 to help us to understand the empty tomb. It explains how the disciples of Jesus came to believe; why they should believe; and finally the stark reality that Jesus had risen from the dead, despite what they had believed.
I. “For As Yet” That little phrase on the beginning of verse 9 helps us to understand something about time or chronology. From the time that Jesus told them that He must die, until the time that Jesus would yet be risen; the resurrection from the dead would be a mystery to them.
A. Running in Unbelief: When Peter and John heard from Mary that the tomb was empty and Jesus’ body was gone, they were not only surprised, astonished, and curious; but they were in unbelief! As they ran to the tomb themselves; they were in unbelief! Are you in unbelief about the empty tomb?
1.What must the disciples had thought about the empty tomb? They had followed Jesus as faithful friends for three years during His ministry; and most of them had fled for their lives as Jesus was led to His crucifixion. John was known as the one whom Jesus loved, and Peter guaranteed: No Lord, I would never deny you…ever! Mary sat opposite the empty tomb and wept! What might these disciples had been thinking as they received the news, as they ran to the tomb, and finally as they peered, ever so cautiously inside the tomb? Wiersbe wrote that “both men deserve credit for having the courage to run into enemy territory, not knowing what lay before them. The whole thing could have been a clever trap to catch the disciples.” Could it be true that their friend was alive?
B. Peter on the Waves: The unbelief of the disciples reminded me of Peter walking on the water. While he had fixed his eyes upon Jesus, the storm around their little boat had little consequence. Not only that, the fact that men do not simply walk on water had little consequence. But when Peter saw how bad the wind was, he became frightened and began to sink. His faith gave way to his own circumstances! What do you see as your own reality? What does your faith give way to? You might say, there are no new beginnings! I tried and I failed, it is just the reality of the situation! You might say, there is no hope? But I tell you today, Hope has been restored because of the empty tomb!
Transition: Jesus told the disciples what was going to happen; but “for as yet” they did not understand. What about you today? Isn’t what happened to the disciples the same thing that happens to us? We lose trust and hope? When the possibility of hope speaks to your heart; do you ultimately say, no…. it couldn’t be true….never mind…. We lose our way? Might I suggest that we do that, because we don’t…. “for as yet” (see that on the beginning of verse 9!) understand God’s revelation for our lives? God speaks things into our lives that we cannot possibly seem to understand. Things like an empty tomb! I have to wonder about the stone itself. The words in the Greek imply that not only had the tomb just been opened; but that the covering had been “lifted up and carried away”…removed completely away from the opening. In fact, it is the same word that was used by Mary to describe what she thought had happened to Jesus before He showed Himself to her. She thought he was lifted/ or carried away. Another interesting viewpoint is that the stone was not removed so that Jesus could get out; but so that the disciples could get in.