I got into our car last week to make a trip out of town only to discover that the gas tank was nearly empty. I was not excited about empty. Recently I reached into a granola bar box only to realize that it was empty. I was not excited about empty. Empty is not usually exciting, but every year at this time, Christians are very excited about an empty tomb.
The resurrection of Christ as the reason for the empty tomb is exciting and any alternative is devastating. Paul put it bluntly, “…and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.” (1 Corinthians 15:17) Christ died as the payment for mankind’s sins and rose from the dead to restore all who believe into right relationship with God (Romans 3:28; 4:25). If Christ did not rise then there is no hope for victory over sin, death, and the grave.
Three pieces of evidence support the resurrection as the reason for the empty tomb. First of all, the resurrection was declared to be the reason for the empty tomb. Jesus said that he would be, “killed, and be raised up on the third day.” (Matthew 16:21) The angels declared to women at the tomb, “He is not here, but He has risen.” (Luke 24:6) Saying something is true doesn’t make it so, therefore we are given more proof.
Secondly, the resurrection is defended as the explanation for an empty tomb. In order to prevent Jesus’ disciples from stealing His body and then falsely claiming that He was raised from the dead, Roman officials secured, sealed the tomb and set up a military guard (Matthew 27:62-66). Additionally, after the tomb was miraculously opened the guards explained the events to the religious leaders who bribed them to tell their superiors that the body of Jesus had been stolen to cover up the truth of the resurrection (Matthew 28:1-15).
Finally, the resurrection was demonstrated as the risen Christ appeared to scores of people who corroborated rather than discredited His claim (See 1 Corinthians 15:6). Had Jesus been a liar or a mad man and not the risen Christ, it is nearly impossible that so many of his followers would have died for him.
I am excited about an empty tomb that reminds me of Christ’s resurrection and the pardon, peace, and a place with God eternally He secures for all who believe. Jesus said in John 11:25-26, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me shall live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”