One Easter weekend, our church sent out 200 plastic eggs to help our neighbors consider their own existence. Inside, a simple message: “Is your life as empty as this egg? Ever feel like you’ve got a shiny coat outside – but empty and void on the inside? Come Sunday & learn why the Empty Tomb means a Full Life!” Americans, by far, live running on empty. Solomon wrote that his search for pleasure (through relationships, accomplishments, possessions, and more) ended up with such emptiness, he referred to it as ‘chasing the wind.’ Such is life… isn’t it? Christians often talk about how that what Satan offers is empty and vain. yet the majority of Christians live, at best, half-lives. More empty than full, more cloudy than sunny, more searching than satisfied. Why? I believe it is because we have confined the power of the empty tomb to a season – to a single day: Resurrection Sunday.
In 1 Corinthians 15:42-44, the Apostle Paul lists four things that are native to human existence – four default settings because of sin: corruption, dishonor, weakness, and a natural body.
- Corruption: We are tending to decay (both physically and morally); continually spiraling downward in a sort of rottenness
- Dishonor: Our lives are lives full of shame and disgrace, reproached and rejected.
- Weakness: Every person has sensed their own feebleness and frailty in overcoming sicknesses.
- A Natural Body: We know no other way than to live by our senses; with every breath, we declare our dependence on the Creator & creation.
On the cross, Christ Jesus took these four things with him to their death, but at the empty tomb, he gave us their counterparts when He rose from the dead: incorruption, glory, power, and a spiritual body.
- Incorruption: Christ has give us life: life that is always new and never gets old. It’s so pure that it can never be diminished!
- Glory: God grants honor to whom honor is due – and we shall be worthy, perfected in beauty, exalted in majesty!
- Power: The very same power that sparked the Savior awake on the third day is the miraculous might of God offered to every believer!
- A Spiritual Body: We will know a greater existence, one beyond our dimension – not limited by our human senses!
On June 15, 1815, as Napoleon came against England in the Battle of Waterloo, reports came back from the front lines… The last message before the fog rolled in: “Wellington Defeated.” Later that day, their sorrow of defeat was transformed into the joy of victory when then were able to read the rest of the four-word message: “Wellington Defeated the Enemy.” Just the same, from the cross came the message: “Christ Defeated.” But just three days later, when the morning fog cleared, we got the message from the empty tome: “Christ Defeated Death!”
What if Christ had not risen from the dead? 1 Corinthians 15:14-19 give us a glimpse of how empty life would be without the resurrection. If Christ is not risen, then we have an empty message. Preachers have nothing to say; there is no such thing as a gospel (good news) and religion is, at its best, ineffective. If Christ is not risen, then your faith is vain: Christianity is without footing. Doctrine doesn’t matter; convictions are fruitless; it’s a waste. If Christ is not risen, then we are false witnesses. We are liars – just like our Master. If Christ is not risen, then we are without forgiveness: sin’s guilty weight and stiff penalty still lays heavy on each of us. If Christ is not risen, then this is all there is. Death is the end, and those already dead are gone forever. If Christ is not risen, then Christ’s followers are the most miserable of all: because we have suffered and endured for nothing.
“But now is Christ risen from the dead…” (v20).
And since He’s risen, there is a gospel that is mighty powerful (Rom. 1:16). Since He is risen, Christianity is the only religion with a true foundation: Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 3:11). There is enough proof / evidence that would win a modern-day court case! Since He is risen, those who deny the resurrection are liars (Rom. 3:4). Since He is risen, trusting God really works: faith is real (Heb. 11:1). Since He is risen, we can be forgiven and set free from sin (Ps. 103:12). Since He is risen, death is not the end: Christ is the first of all of God’s people who will be resurrected in the last days (1 Thess. 4:14). Since He is risen, we know that all things work together for good: all that we wait for is real and worth waiting for (2 Cor. 4:17).
Are you living a full life or are you living like Jesus never rose? The empty tomb is the receipt of a full life that has already been paid for – live in it! “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” (v58)