A few years ago, Mom came limping into the room, leaning on her new walking stick. It was the first Easter after being diagnosed with an aggressive neurodegenerative disease, and she was trying to make the best of it. Just months prior, she had driven her car for the last time. The woman who spent weekdays watching her grandkids now needed grab bars all over her walls.
If the tomb isn’t empty, we’re the most people to be pitied.
And if the Gospel of Jesus Christ isn’t all true, it’s certainly not half true.
There is no watered-down or passive response to Christ. He is either the One True God, or He is a madman. (See: “I am the way the truth and the life; no one comes to the father except through me.” John 14:6.)
In the words of Tim Keller, those who truly know who Jesus is are running toward Him or running away from Him.
Things like manuscripts, artifacts, prophecies, and statistics offer evidence that Christ is who He said He is. But they will never be enough.
Because all the evidence in the world couldn’t carry you through the valley of the shadow of death, where precious people suffer, the right answers feel miserable, and life drips with injustice.
Then what? What possibly can sustain us?
The rich presence of God.
You can debate the existence of Christ until you’re blue in the face, but you can’t argue with personally experiencing the goodness of the Living God.
The comfort that is better than good facts.
The moment that stops you abruptly because you know God had that word for you.
The work God does through believers.
The transformation that turns self-help on its head.
This is the presence of the living God. Alive and here—He is so much bigger than a feeling and so much better than a set of rules. This is the personal God who loves you.
If that tomb isn’t empty, we’re the most people to be pitied. Because if that tomb isn’t empty, this life burns fast and comes to nothing.
But if that tomb is in fact empty—
Then God cared enough to bring Christ’s physical body back to life, and He cared enough to do that here on earth. What does that say? He is making all things new, and He is starting here.
He certainly didn’t have to. God could have said trust me—I’ll bring transformation, but I’ll bring it later, perhaps in a different realm.
But God cared enough to begin the renewal here, making our earthly breaths all the more sacred—here, right now. In Christ, they become a springboard to the City to come.
Then it is with renewed gumption we proclaim THIS EARTHLY PAIN IS NEVER POINTLESS.
This is not a holding place to get through; this is a place that the holy God works through.
This is the chance to live the first fruits of His Death & Resurrection.
This is our time of preparation; an appetizer for the feast to come.
This is salvation because of Christ’s death and sanctification because of His life.
This is sweetly fellowshipping with Christ in this moment as we anticipate completeness in moments to come.
This is remembering Christ sat right up out of death, and I will sit right up out of death too.
If Easter reminds us our Sovereign God turns the brokenness on earth to ready us for the new earth, THEN LET THIS LIFE GET US READY.
Let it push us right up against our Savior, where there’s no choice but to cling to Him because nothing less will do.
Let suffering hound out the weak links in our faith, and let it catapult us onto the Solid Rock.
Friend, you can know all about Him. But if you are not daily walking with The Living Hope, your head knowledge will fall apart when the waves come. Your fellowship with Christ Jesus is what’s left when all falls away. He is the Resurrection and the Life—yes later but yes, right now.
Last Easter, Mom could barely talk and spent her days in a recliner. Her mind stayed sharp as her body failed. Most of life had been taken from Mom, but the Resurrection and the Life had not. Her brown eyes still danced with gritty Joy. There is no explanation for this apart from Jesus Christ.
There is no rebutting a personal experience with the One True God. It is what our faith is built on—
Thank God the tomb is empty.
“Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”” (John 11:25-26.)
“If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.” (1 Corinthians 15:19.)