What Does The Empty Tomb Mean To Us?
Almost 2000 years ago, Jesus was crucified between two thieves. When He died, His body was laid in a new tomb belonging to Joseph of Arimathea (Mk. 15:43-47), there to await His resurrection on the third day. The account of the women and the apostles finding Jesus’ tomb empty is found in Matthew 28:1-10, Mark 16:1-11, Luke 24:1-12, and John 20:1-10.
The empty tomb means something to Christians. It is important and has great value to all those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God. What does the empty tomb mean?
The empty tomb means that death is conquered! Jesus became the “firstfruits of them that slept” (I Cor. 15:20). Colossians 1:18 declares that Christ’s resurrection gives Him the preeminence in all things. Hebrews 2:9 shows us that Christ tasted death for every man. Therefore, Christians have nothing to fear in death.
In writing on the subject of death and the resurrection of all mankind, Paul said, “So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Cor. 15:54-57). Why not look into the tomb, and see the victory that Christ has given to all since He arose from the dead?
The empty tomb means salvation for all! Before Christ, Jewish people were considered the chosen nation, and they labored to keep the Old Testament (Mosaic) Law. They offered animal sacrifices to atone for their sins, but this was not enough (Heb. 10:1-4). Seeing that Jesus gave His life, shed His blood, and arose from the dead, He offers salvation to everyone (Matt. 11:28-30). In Mark 16:15, Jesus instructed His apostles to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” In Colossians 1:5-6, 23, we read that this command was carried out! Paul declared that “every creature which is under heaven” heard the gospel. Jesus wanted no one to be ignorant of His will, and neither should we.
The empty tomb means Jesus told the truth! Throughout Jesus’ preaching, He prophesied of His death, burial, and resurrection, and that He is the Son of God. A few passages that declare this are: Matthew 12:38-40; Matthew 16:21; John 8:24, 58-59; John 10:30-36; and John 18:36-37. That empty tomb tells mankind that the Son of God walked this earth, told us the truth about all things, that He loves us and wants to save us!
If we can believe that Jesus told us the truth on these things, why do we not believe Him on the other things He teaches in His word? There has been much dispute over certain parts of the Bible for many years. Obviously, Jesus did not teach two or more conflicting doctrines, but spoke the Truth consistently. Knowing this and knowing that He told us the truth about His death, burial, and resurrection; why do we not believe His teachings on other subjects? Why do we not do the things He requires?
Friend, the stone wasn’t rolled back so Jesus could escape. It was rolled back so we could look in! Have you looked with the eye of faith into that empty tomb? I pray that we might all come to a better understanding of what the empty tomb means.
What Is Man’s True Value?
If anyone wants to know his actual value, consider the value God and Satan have placed upon you. You see, by words and actions, they have placed a value or worth upon each one of us. What is it?
We get a good idea of what Satan thinks man is worth in Matthew 4. Read Matthew 4:1-11 (or Luke 4:1-13) for the entire context. We will focus upon Matthew 4:8-9. “Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world, and their glory. And he said to him, All these things I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.”
Perhaps we have read this before and wondered what use Christ would have with buildings, gold, silver, etc. The truth is, He has no use for such things (Ps. 50:10; Acts 17:24-25). In truth, Satan, being the “god of this world”, “the prince of this world” and “the prince of the power of the air” (II Cor. 4:8-9; Jn. 12:31, 14:30, 16:11; Eph. 2:2) was not offering Jesus buildings and lands, but was offering Him the people, the souls who occupied those lands!
Put simply, Christ was offered every soul’s subjection by Satan. Christ was tempted to avoid the cross, the suffering, the rejection, etc., by worshipping Satan! Think about it: This is Satan’s estimation of every person! He would gladly give away every person on earth if he could just have Christ as his servant! To him, you and I are but pawns in his twisted, selfish work.
God’s estimate of man’s value is far different. Instead of looking for things He might consider more “valuable” than us, God sent His only begotten Son as a sacrifice for us (Jn. 3:16). This sacrifice was first promised in Genesis 3:15. This “theme” of redemption echoes throughout the pages of the Bible. God’s redemption for man is offered to us out of love and mercy so that we do not die in our sins (Matt. 20:28; Rom. 5:6-8).
When Jesus stood before Pilate, He declared that He had come into this world to die (Jn. 18:36-37). His sacrifice was a selfless sacrifice. He gave Himself to die on the cross so that the souls of humanity could be saved from sin (I Pet. 1:18-19). Is there not a clearer contrast between Satan’s estimation of man and God’s?
Now that we understand Satan’s and God’s estimation of our value, why are we continuing to fall into Satan’s snares (Jas. 1:14-15; I Jn. 2:15-17)? Satan does not love us. He is a liar and murderer from the beginning (Jn. 8:44). He lurks and hunts for folks to devour (I Pet. 5:8). He makes sin seem so sweet, lovely, and fulfilling; yet it is full of rottenness and filth (Heb. 11:26; II Pet. 2:19-22).
Let us stop falling for his lies. Let us open our eyes and see the truth. God loves us and has provided the best for us. He has given us a way to be saved (Mk. 16:16), and if we will be faithful for our short lives (Jas. 4:14), we can enjoy an eternity in Heaven (Rev. 2:10; II Tim. 4:6-8; Rom. 8:16-18; II Cor. 4:17). While on earth, we can see that we are blessed people when we belong to Him (Eph. 1:3; I Pet. 3:10-12). We are truly valuable to God. To Him, we are priceless; to Satan, we are worthless! Why not leave sin and selfishness and follow the only One who believes we have real value.
“What Is Involved In Salvation?”
Since Christ gave His life as “a ransom for many” and shed His blood “for the remission of sins” (Matt. 20:28, 26:28), He brought salvation to everyone (Titus 2:11). His sacrifice provided the way for us to be saved from sin.
Is Christ’s death on the cross all that was necessary to save man? If it was, then all people would be saved from sin because Christ died for all (Jn. 1:29; I Jn. 2:2). Yet, we know this is not the case because the Bible says some will be lost (Matt. 25:41). There must be something we must do to receive salvation.
In the New Testament, we see that not only did Christ die, was buried, and rise the third day for our salvation; we in turn must follow Christ’s plan for salvation if we wish to be saved (Mk. 16:16). We need to believe that Jesus is the Son of God, “for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins” (Jn. 8:24). Faith is so necessary that, “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Heb. 11:6). Is this all one needs to do to be saved? No! Faith is the beginning step leading to salvation. One must also obey the Lord’s will (Acts 2:38). Christ did His part, will you do yours?
Spotlight On A Bible Verse: Acts 2:38
“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” These words were spoken on the day of Pentecost following the Lord’s death, burial, and resurrection. On this day, when the Jews were rightly accused of killing Christ (Acts 2:23), they then asked what they could do (Acts 2:36). Acts 2:38 is the answer to this question, and by extension, the answer to our question when we ask what we must do to be saved from our sins! Have you repented of your sins? Have you been baptized? If not, why not? Repentance and baptism is necessary to remit (forgive) your sins and put you in a right relationship with God. Why are you waiting?
- Jarrod Jacobs