Hope from an empty tomb

Pastor Jeff Struecker

This week, churches worldwide are preparing for the most significant religious day of the year, Easter Sunday. For most of you that are older, you have some Easter memories. Maybe it was dressing up for you, and mom put you in that ridiculous dress, suit, and tie. You felt like an idiot. You looked crazy, but it was time to wear your best clothes and attend church. Some of you got a basket with some candy in it. For others, you did the epic egg hunt; for many of you, you might even have had somebody hopping around your house dressed up like a bunny. There are many, in my opinion, weird traditions around Easter. But for people that have grown up in families of faith, in the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ, there’s no way to exaggerate the importance of this Sunday.

I want to do something a little different than study theology with you. I want to get real with you about the resurrection. I want to get real with you about what happened 2000 years ago in an empty tomb, how that moment still echoes through eternity, and how it makes a huge difference in your life today. I don’t know how to describe to you the frustration, the fear, the uncertainty that those original followers of Jesus had when they were absolutely convinced that he was the king of the universe, the king of Israel, who would restore God’s people to all of their glory. And then, all of a sudden, he’s arrested and sentenced to die. They see their savior dying on a cross, and then he’s dead.

The hopes and dreams of Jesus’s followers were shattered as they watched him being crucified and laid in a tomb. Although Jesus had warned them of his death and resurrection, they couldn’t comprehend it until it happened. On Easter Sunday, a group of women went to the tomb to anoint Jesus’s body with spices. But they found the stone rolled away and angels proclaiming that Jesus had risen from the dead. The women told the disciples, but they found it hard to believe until they saw Jesus themselves.

The message of Easter can be summed up in three words: “He is risen.” These words signify that Jesus is the conquering and victorious king over sin and death. He invites all people back into an abundant life their souls have longed for. These words can change lives and offer hope to a world dying for rebirth.

He is risen and because he is risen, everything is now different. This was the ultimate game-changer. If Jesus, who promised that he had power over his own life and death, came back out of the grave, everything would be different. And if you’re not sure you believe that statement I just made. Well, I will prove it to you by putting a verse below.

Memory Verse

What this bible verse is saying is because Jesus died and because he was raised again, everything can be new. Everything is now different. Anything can be handled in your life. If Jesus really does have the power over life and death, what on earth can happen to you that he isn’t powerful enough to handle you?

See, there was a moment after Jesus’ resurrection that radically changed everything. The risen Christ will confront these scared, timid followers of Jesus, hiding in an upper room and locking themselves so that nobody would arrest them and sentence them to die. And when they leave that room, they boldly stand in crowds of thousands and declare Jesus is alive and has radically changed me. And if he changed me, he can change you too. The Easter message is if Jesus’ tomb is empty, then there is nothing in your life that Jesus isn’t powerful enough to make new. So now I’m going to leave you with a question, and it’s a question that I want you to pray and think about. If you got a group of people watching this with you, I’d love for you to talk with them about it or as a family. Why don’t you discuss it? Here’s the question,

Challenge

Just a couple of days from now. We will celebrate and remember; I want it to be very practical for you. We will recognize that man has the power over life and death, which means he also has the power over every area of my life that I’m struggling and hurting in. So what area of your life needs to be made new by the resurrected Christ?