Pastor's Column: The tomb is empty - now what?
April 22. 2014 6:22PM
We have just celebrated Holy Week…our lenten journey is over. We have remembered Jesus’ selfless acts of servanthood as He washed the feet of His disciples. We have journeyed to the Cross, spending time in self-examination…realizing that the suffering Jesus endured was for us…yet, we moved beyond the Cross to the empty tomb, where we discovered that Jesus is not there…He has Risen from the dead! The tomb is empty—now what?
Easter is a wonderful way to celebrate what our Savior, Jesus, did out of His great love for us. But, Easter is also about us…the new creation we become when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, leaving our old life behind and beginning our new life with Him. We are new people because we have died and risen with Christ. Jesus gives us the opportunity to let go of all of the heavy baggage that we have been carrying with us on this journey. He tells us to come, just as we are, and give to Him the sin, guilt, and shame that we have been carrying around. Carrying around all of this baggage can weigh us down. We can become tired and worn out because of it. And, quite frankly, it gets in the way of many things in life, especially in our relationships with others.
Because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, He offers us a gift…a free gift…one of eternal impact. He offers us the gift of eternal life. He offers us a new life of holiness, forgiveness, and freedom. The hard part is letting go of the baggage that continues to weigh us down. Sometimes we like to hold on to it…it’s been with us for so long that it gives us a false sense of comfort. But, wouldn’t it be better to let it go so that we can take hold of the things that Jesus wants to give us?
The tomb is empty. Christ has risen from the dead. And, now we are to live out our days loving God and loving others. It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? Yet, in a world that seems to be spiraling out of control, we may find ourselves questioning…can I really do that? Yes, we can. Why? Because Jesus prayed for you and for me and He asked His Father to help us. Jesus said in John 17:20-22, “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me. I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one.”
Following in the footsteps of Christ doesn’t start with us discipling the nations…it’s starts with us loving God first and foremost, and then loving our neighbor as ourself. The best way we can share the Good News of Jesus Christ is by living a life of unity and love with one another—what a great testimony of our faith in Christ.
The great love God has for us was nailed to a tree. His love conquered death. The grave could not hold it. His love has set us free. My prayer for you is that you allow God’s great love for you to penetrate your heart and fill it so abundantly that it overflows into your relationship with Him and with others. The tomb is empty, let your heart be full!