Lk 24:1-12, 24 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they went in, they did not find the body.a 4 While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. 5 The womenb were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the menc said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.d 6 Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, 7 that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.” 8 Then they remembered his words, 9 and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest. 10 Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. 11 But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. 12 But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened.
Introduction: C.S. Lewis states, "Now Faith … is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods. For moods will change, whatever view your reason takes. I know that by experience. Now that I am a Christian I do have moods in which the whole thing looks very improbable..."
I. Our passage today takes us to two women on Easter morning encounting an empty place, a cold, void tomb that would have life changing consequences. They arrive early that morning to find the tomb where the body of Jesus had been placed opened. They go inside only to find nothing. Scripture tells us the fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them.
A. Imagine what Mary Magdalene and the other women were going thru? They had just been thru a very painful public witnes of the crucifiction of Jesus, thier friend and teacher. They were deeply morning his death. They were going to the tomb to fulfill the jewish burial rituals yet find nothing but and empty tomb. To find the tomb empty may appear to find nothing, but in finding nothing, the women will make the greatest find: the discovery that Jesus is risen.
1. They didn't know you have to pass thru empty tombs to live a resurrected life. It happens ....
- when you give your heart to someone who doesn't accept it.
- when you prepare and pursue a profession but find you hate the work.
- when you try to resist a temptation, fall to time and time again.
- when you lose your job
- when you build your retirement only to see it disappear to nothing.
- when you lose a child or spouse to death and find yourself alone.
These are cold, empty spots. Massive voids.
B. Many times we ignore the empty tombs or voids in our lives. Sociologist Jean Twenge states young adults in particular have been told "they can do anything if they will only believe in themselves." The truth is as most of us have lived to find - bad things happen to good people. Dreams don't always come true.
C. We are all going to face some empty places, cold voids which cause us to step back and potentially flee in fear and maybe even amazement as these women did. The women flee the tomb in fear, terror, and amazement. Who wouldn't be afraid discovering this site? The women run from the tomb with a disorienting mixture of fear yet the emotions are the very thing preparing them for the resurrection. When we pass thru empty tombs most of what we experience doesn't make logical sense. This particular morning morning is more about God than their grief. It is more about the empty and cold places of our lives being filled with new and unexpected life.
II. Peter and John did not believe the women. Ancient Jewish men did not hold women's testimony as reliable. Maybe they ran back to the still empty tomb to confirm it. It was not an accident they came back to the tomb. All the gospels give account of who returned to find the still empty tomb.
A. When Christ died, the disciples were lost without hope. The message of the still empty tomb seemed like a cruel joke. John saw and believed. He comprehended what it meant. Before him were the evidences of Christ’s resurrection. Peter went home amazed - the text still doesn't tell us he understood nor did he believe. At first, it was frustrating to the disciples and "seemed to them like wild stories." I wonder, how many times throughout the rest of their lives lives did they return to find the tomb still empty.
Conclusion: Because the tomb is still empty, God wholistically fills the empty places of our lives. He did it when the first women walked into the empty tomb at sunrise and ran in terror and amazement back to tell the disciples. God filled the empty places of doubt and regret in the disciples souls as John and Peter returned to confirm the tomb was still empty.
C.S. Lewis concludes, "but when I was an atheist I had moods in which Christianity looked terribly probable. This rebellion of your moods against your real self is going to come anyway. That is why Faith is such a necessary virtue."
The good news this morning...the tomb is still empty. We don't have to prove, earn it or make it happen. All we have to do is accept this message of the ressurected Jesus. To follow Jesus wherever he leads us. It begins at a tomb still empty.