Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Cross and the Empty Tomb

by Gregory A. Johnson
The Cross and the Empty Tomb, by Gregory A. Johnson

Not just during the Easter season, but each day, we are confronted with the cross of Christ and the empty tomb. What do they mean? Why are they so significant?

In the 1800's Ralph E. Hudson wrote the chorus to the sacred hymn, At the Cross: "At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light, and the burden of my heart rolled away. It was there by faith I received my sight, and now I am happy all the day!"
  • At the cross, we realize how much God loves us (Romans 5:8).  
  • At the cross, we are justified and saved from God’s wrath (Romans 5:9).  
  • At the cross, we are reconciled to God (Romans 5:10). 
  • At the cross, we experience forgiveness of sins (Luke 23:34). 
George Bennard wrote the hymn, The Old Rugged Cross. Listen to the words of the chorus: "So I'll cherish the old rugged cross. Till my trophies at last I lay down; I will cling to the old rugged cross, and exchange it some day for a crown."

Beloved, on your journey from earth to glory, cling to the cross of Christ. Spend time at the foot of the cross, humbling yourself in prayer. As you do, God will draw you close to Him.

As we spend time at the foot of the cross and visit it daily, we go a little further, and we peer into the tomb. Praise God the tomb is empty! Death could not hold its prey. Up from the grave, he arose. Jesus is alive, and we serve the risen Lord.

We are saved through Jesus's life. God's word says, "For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!" (Romans 5:10 NIV).  Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die" (John 11:25-26 NIV).

The empty tomb points to the resurrection of our body. Jesus said, "And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day" (John 6:39-40 NIV).

Scripture declares, "For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words" (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 NIV).

Beloved, we will be airlifted out of this troubled world—resurrected from death to eternal life. Hallelujah! Because the tomb is empty, our redemption draws near. Jesus could return today. Be encouraged with these words.

Know that you are loved,