But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Matthew 28:5-6 (ESV)
HE’S ALIVE! And it’s because He’s alive that we have hope! This coming weekend Christians all over the world will celebrate the only hope that is offered to us—the hope of an empty tomb. Going to a sunrise service on Easter morning was a common practice in Chattanooga where I lived as a young adult. I remember waiting for the sun to rise while singing “Up From The Grave He Arose”. I can’t help but laugh and think that only those in the grave enjoyed my version of that classic hymn, and I would not be surprised if the people standing around me while I was singing wished they were dead! To be quite honest, I do not make a habit of singing in cemeteries.
However, I've had the privilege of visiting Jesus’ garden tomb in Jerusalem several times. There is debate on whether this is truly the exact place where Jesus was buried, but there is some very convincing evidence that the location is authentic. I will never forget reading the carved wooden sign over the door that says, “He is not here, He is risen!” Yes, the tomb I visited was empty! Thank you God that Jesus is no longer in His tomb.
If someone had come out of their grave during those sunrise services in Chattanooga, I would not be writing this devotional—I would have died on the spot! By the same token, if Jesus had not come out of His grave, I would be dead in my sins without any hope of knowing God. Our hope is in the empty tomb where Jesus was laid. In John 11:25 Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.” I love that Jesus did not say I’m in the resurrection business. Jesus said, “I AM” the resurrection and whoever believes in Me lives! Because He lives, we live. Because His tomb is empty, we have hope.
Jesus’ death on the cross did not make Him the Son of God! In fact, Jesus was crucified between two other men. Our hope is not in the death of a person or in a person that was raised from the dead. Remember Lazarus? Lazarus did not raise himself from the dead; Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. Jesus not only raised Lazarus from the dead, but also raised Himself from the dead! Jesus predicted His death and His resurrection and actually pulled it off. This is evidence for us to prove that He is the Son of God.
In a world that appears hopeless the only true hope we have is that Jesus died on the cross for our sins, rose on the third day, and is now sitting on His throne next to the Father. Let this sink in: Jesus is alive and sitting on His throne!! And because the Father gave Jesus all authority and power, He has everything under control. We have hope in a loving, sovereign, powerful God who is sitting on his throne. Revelation 5:1-10 reminds us of our hope:
Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”
And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne. And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying,
“Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”
This weekend as you celebrate Easter remember the hope of Romans 8:34: “Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.” It is His resurrection power that gives each of us the power to live as children of God in a world that offers no hope. He is alive and because He lives we have hope! Happy Easter!
Further Reading Matthew 28
Want a companion devo for this blog? Sign up for The Sip, a midweek devotional delivered to your inbox. [gravityform id="2" title="false" description="false" ajax="true"]