Resurrection – The Empty Tomb

In most of Europe and America and many other parts of the world, Easter has already been celebrated. This is an amazing time for believers who remember the fact that Jesus not only died for our sins, but that He rose again and is coming someday soon to take those remaining home to Glory! The cross has been the symbol for Christianity since the middle ages, but really the cross is only one part of the story. If there had not been an empty tomb, as believers, we would not have had the definite knowledge and proof of Jesus resurrection. Also the sceptics, of other religions, who had watched the whole procedure from start to finish, would be inclined to believe in this Jesus.
The unbelieving Jews knew that! Why else did they seal the tomb so carefully? They thought that if some of the believers were to steal the body and hide it, then people would believe that Jesus either had not died or that he was alive again. They thought to keep humans out, but the tomb could not keep Jesus in! They in sealing the tomb and guarding it carefully, actually added to the excitement and the evidence of His resurrection. Yes, the Empty Tomb is the real symbol of Christianity and of the hope we have for the future with Jesus in eternity.
Easter has not yet come for the people of Greece and other Orthodox lands. We will once again celebrate the Empty Tomb and the Resurrection on May 5th this year with the other believers in Greece and Macedonia.
In looking forward to that time again, I am reminded of the raising of Lazarus from the dead and have been looking at that passage in John 11. Jesus loved, Lazarus and his sisters Mary & Martha, of that there is no doubt as we are told clearly in Scripture. Yet for the sake of the onlookers, He did not rush to their side to help immediately, but allowed them to go through the suffering and grief of bereavement for a time. God was going to do an even greater miracle than healing a sick man, therefore Lazarus was allowed to die before Jesus arrival.
Lazarus was already 4 days dead. Is that significant? Yes, the Jews believed that by the fourth day there was a separation of the soul from the body, therefore no more chance of life. This only would add to the miracle Jesus would perform and also show some of the Jews the folly of some traditional beliefs. I like to think, this was also a little bit of an assurance to the believers, that if Lazarus could be raised after 4 days, then it was going to be no problem for God to raise Jesus to life after three. But that is only a side thought!
Knowing that He was in control and would eventually raise Lazarus, why then did Jesus weep [35]? Was it for the deep sympathy He felt for Mary & Martha, that they were suffering this bereavement? Was it His deep personal love for the man Lazarus? I really don’t believe that is sufficient cause for Jesus to weep, especially since He knew the end from the beginning. When we look at another time Jesus wept in Luke 19:41 , He was weeping over Jerusalem and their unbelief in spite of all He had shown them and taught them. In the Garden of Gethsemane, [Mark 14:33,34] Jesus was again distressed and weeping over the weight of our collective sin, which He was to carry to the cross.
I think in the instance with Lazarus, it is probable that Jesus was groaning in His Spirit and weeping over the fact that despite all his teaching and discipling, still even those He loved, and far less the onlookers, did not understand who He was or what He could and would do. Our unbelief makes Jesus weep, yet so often we doubt what He is doing in our lives, or don’t see the bigger miracle until after the fact!
Do we really believe He has risen and lives in our hearts? Do we know with deep assurance that He is coming back for us one day? If so, this is the best news anyone ever had and many, who are still causing Jesus to weep with their unbelief, need to hear it and see in our lives that we live for another world and not only for this temporal one. Make this year count: as you ask the Lord to cause you to weep over the sin of our nations, plead with God for His Mercy and Grace for the unsaved and spread the Good News of the Empty Tomb and the Resurrection to our friends, families and acquaintances.

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