Monday Reflection – April 13, 2020
Empty but not Emptiness
The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.’ Matthew 28:5,7
What? What’s happening here? Where is Jesus? This must be some of the questions and expressions of the women who arrive at the burial spot of Jesus and discover that the tomb is empty. They have come to anoint his body with the spices that they had prepared, but the body of Jesus is nowhere to be found. We cannot begin to imagine nor understand the trauma that these women are going through. I believe that the anointing of the body is part of the healing process for them, bringing closure for them, in light of the gruesome crucifixion that Jesus went through via a kangaroo court. There is therefore an empty cross and an empty tomb.
The cross is empty but is not characterized by emptiness. It is full of God’s promises. The cross is God’s remedy for sin. Romans 3:23 reminds us that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and Romans 6:23 says that the wages of sin is death. Yet, Romans 5:8 inspires us “God demonstrated His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Jesus became sin for us, as Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:21 – God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
The tomb is empty but is not a symbol of emptiness. Without the empty tomb there is no Saviour. The resurrection is proof that God accepted Jesus’ death as full payment for our sins. The resurrection is God’s seal of approval on all that Jesus accomplished. At the cross and empty tomb, God’s justice has been satisfied. Sin has been paid for. The payment for sin that was demanded from us, has been made by a Substitute – none other than God’s own Son. The empty tomb is about victory and new life. It’s about the defeat of sin, and death, and the forces of evil. Death no longer rules the day for Christ has defeated death. Sin is no longer victorious for Christ has paid the price for it. We are now free from sin’s bondage and evil no longer has us in its sway. God’s will has triumphed! His plan of salvation has been completed.
The empty cross and grave are not signs of an absent God; rather they remind us in a very powerful way that our God is still here; his love and grace are sufficient. Easter brings light to lives darkened by sin. It brings hope to people paralyzed by despair. So when dark clouds invade our lives, when raindrops of suffering or trouble dampen our souls, we must remember that the sun of God’s amazing grace is still shining above the clouds. When life’s challenges threaten to overwhelm us and our sins threaten to separate us from our Holy God, remember this: CHRIST IS RISEN! HE IS RISEN, INDEED!
The world gives us promises full of emptiness: God gives us empty things full of promises!Jermaine Gibson