Resurrection Sunday. It is early. I am still. Lord, what do I say? We celebrate Easter with bunnies, baskets, hidden eggs, and squeals of delight, while an empty tomb beckons. An empty tomb. One day a dead body. The next, only burial clothes. One day a fortified cell. Defeat. The next, a symbol of hope. One day the finality of man’s worst punishment. The next, the finality of God’s eternal deliverance.
The empty tomb awaits. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Where once our tomb was a place of hopelessness, uncertainty, death, and bondage, in Christ, it is now empty.
Do you see it? When we place our faith in the resurrected Christ, all things are made new. Where there was once sin and destruction, there is now an empty tomb. A place of hope. A new life. In Christ. Where alcoholism once sealed us in our tomb, it is now empty. We are raised to new life in Christ. Where sexual immorality once sealed us in our tomb, it is now empty. Only grave clothes. We are raised to a new life in Christ. That old self is no longer there. Where anger and strife once sealed us in our tomb, it is now empty. We are raised to a new life in Christ. Where ambition once sealed us in our tomb, it is now empty. Jealousy, envy, and discontentment? Only grave clothes. Eating disorder? Only grave clothes. Hurt, brokenness, unforgiveness, sexual abuse, verbal abuse, physical abuse, broken marriage, broken home, drugs, stealing, murder, homosexuality, hatred, judgment, gossip, unkindness, selfishness, self-seeking, pornography, impure thoughts, vulgar language, coarse jesting? Yes, grave clothes!
In the emptiness of the tomb we find the sobering uselessness all our pursuits for a substitute. The uselessness of the counterfeits Satan offers to distract us from true salvation. True deliverance. True joy. True security. We find that Jesus is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). And as He continues in that verse, “No man comes to the Father but through me.”
Will you come to Jesus? Maybe for the first time. Perhaps, like me, for the fifty millionth time. To find forgiveness. To find peace. To find hope. To find the crumpled up burial clothes of a life once eternally condemned. To find an empty tomb because you’ve been raised up in Christ to a new life where all things are made new.
Are there burial clothes you need to find crumpled on the bed of your heart? Sins you need to confess? Bondage from which you need to be set free? When you go to the empty tomb, do you find yourself wearing your burial clothes again? Jesus died for it all. He secured victory, once and for all. The sins we’ve committed, are committing, and will commit. It is all on Him. It is only on us to come. And to return. Romans 8:1 assures us, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” We must take responsibility, but condemnation is not ours. Not in Christ.
Thank you, merciful, gracious, heavenly Father for the gift of Your Son. The sacrifice. The empty tomb. The hope. The forgiveness of our sins. Forgive us now, Lord, for the sins we have committed, are committing, and will commit. We stand at the mouth of Jesus’ empty tomb and rejoice. Death is defeated. Eternal life a guarantee for those who put their trust in Jesus. Jesus, we place our faith in You and You alone. Thank you, Lord, for sending the Holy Spirit as our helper. We ask for help now to take responsibility for our obedience. Responsibility to come and to return. May we find grave clothes crumpled in the tombs of our hearts every day as we become more wholly Yours.