What Just Happened?
It’s my favorite day of the year. I love Easter Sunday. I always get a new dress. I like to get new clothes. I love to eat chocolate. My favorite chocolate truffle eggs are available only at Easter time. My husband stocks up on them to last a whole year. I guess he loves that they make me happy. I love to be with my family and share a festive meal. Even though these are things that I love, the reason I love Easter the most is the reliving of what just happened as if it were just happening again. Every Sunday is a celebration of Easter, but the Sunday of Easter is the day that we fully focus on the empty tomb and what that truly means.
Easter Sunday is the day when hope reigns. Even when cancer threatens to take the lives of those we love and need, even though the financial pressures are pressing in to the point that we aren’t sure how to make the next car payment, even though the conflict in the marriage seems irreconcilable—the empty tomb says that there is hope. The empty tomb doesn’t deny death; rather it brings new light to death. In Romans 6:5 it says:
“If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.”
What does it mean to be united with Him in His death? Do you know what death feels like? If you are reading this devotion, obviously you are alive…but have you experienced hard realities from your own sin or from the sin of others that have left you feeling dead, or feeling that death would be better than the reality you are experiencing? Perhaps you have experienced the death of a spouse, child, parent or other loved one that drove you to the depths of despair. All of us have united with Him in His death just by being born and living in a death-doomed universe. We have come to the reality of knowing that this world, without Christ, ultimately ends in death. We have that part down.
The empty tomb spreads a message, a message that death has been conquered! In Paul’s great Easter message from 1 Corinthians 15 he asks:
“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”
The only power death has over us now is the power we let remain by not accepting the resurrection of Jesus Christ as the payment for our sin that dooms us to death. Yes, we will die and our loved ones will not escape death in the physical realm. Easter’s message is about the physical realm. All who believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead will be united with Him in His resurrection and will be resurrected spiritually to live eternally with Jesus Christ and His Father and the Holy Spirit, along with all the Saints and angels in heaven. What just happened is that the whole universe that God created and that destroyed by death has been redeemed, restored, and made right. The empty tomb is the Gospel that must be preached so that all will have an opportunity to believe in Jesus Christ and be united with Him in His resurrection. Jesus’ empty tomb is my empty tomb. When I am laid in the tomb, there will come a time that I too am resurrected with Jesus Christ. Do you have that assurance?