JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Exploration, today’s Reason To Believe is the empty tomb.
Peter Marshall once said, “The stone was rolled away from the door, not to permit Christ to come out, but to enable the disciples to go in.”
The fact that the stone was rolled away gave Jesus’ followers the opportunity to see the folded grave clothes. They saw with their own eyes that the body that had been laid in the tomb three days earlier was now missing. The meaning of the empty tomb can be summed up in the message that the angel gave to the women who came to Jesus’ gravesite on the first day of the week.
He said, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, “He has risen from the dead.”
The empty tomb is not a reason to be filled with fear. It is a reason to explore the claims of the resurrection. It is a reason for celebration, awe and wonder. It is worthy news to share with others.
The meaning of the empty tomb is a reason to believe in God’s good news.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment of Celebration reflects on the empty tomb.
On the day of Pentecost, Peter preached a sermon that persuaded 3,000 people to come to faith in Christ. It was a moment when he preached the Gospel. In that sermon, Peter said in Acts 2:32, “God raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact.”
This happened fifty days after the crucifixion of Jesus. If opponents wanted to prove Peter wrong, they could have pointed people to a tomb where they placed the body of Jesus. But the stone had been rolled away, and the tomb was empty. The empty tomb tells us that Jesus has defeated death and conquered the grave. He leads His followers to eternal life, not a mortal end. Jesus told His disciples in John 14:19, “Because I live, you also will live.”
The empty tomb of Jesus is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on the comeback of Jesus.
Two men were walking along the road to Emmaus wearing somber faces. They had hoped that Jesus would be their redeemer, but after the events of the past few days, their hopes had faded to disappointment. Suddenly, Jesus showed up and started walking and talking with them. After they recognized Jesus later, their spirits were lifted, and they went to tell His disciples, “It is true! The Lord has risen.”
Suppose you were watching a sporting event with a friend who cheered on the same team, and you turned off the TV because your team fell so far behind. Then, imagine finding out the next day that your team scored a stunning come-back victory. You would probably text your friend to share the good news.
Jesus made the greatest comeback of all time when He rose from the dead. It looked bleak on Friday, when Christ was nailed to a cross, and the disciples were scattered and distressed. It looked like the enemies of Christ had prevailed, but Jesus would not stay silent in the tomb. He came back from death, and emerged victorious over death and sin. His triumph renews our hope every day and fills us with so much joy that we want to tell others about the greatest comeback in history.
The comeback of Jesus from the grave is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.