The empty tomb gets you thinking.  Dead people stay dead. That’s what the word means… Dead.  Dead is unambiguous… Dead is dead.  And so the empty tomb gets you thinking… It gets me thinking.  As for me I believe that Jesus is no longer dead. I believe that he is alive. I believe that the empty tomb tells us a crazy but simple truth… that Jesus rose from the dead. I believe it… And it shapes every part of my life.

For a start it shapes the way I see God. It demonstrates to me that he is more powerful than death – that other counterfeit power that takes us all one day and stakes a claim to be the power above all powers.  It tells me that God is passionate about his creation, about the earth, about people, about flesh – that he has not left it alone, that he has not forgotten it, that he hasn’t written it off, or thrown it away.  It tells me that God is faithful – that he never goes back on a promise – that he can be trusted.  It tells me that God is joyful – that he is alive with joy

And then it shapes the way I see suffering… my own, and that of others:
Cancer, Parkinsons, Dementia, broken bones, broken hearts, broken lives, abused, and beaten, even killed.
Children, adults, the elderly.
The empty tomb shouts back at the forces of evil, of violence and of anger
It hits back against the wave of fear that sweeps across us all every time we experience pain
The empty tomb cries ‘Victory!’
My body may break, I may suffer, but God is greater.
Death does not have the last word, Life does… Jesus does
‘The enemy comes to steal and to destroy and to kill
But I have come to give you Life’, said Jesus…
The empty tomb says he was right.
And so I confidently say, “Greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world.”

And it shapes my hope, my hope for a world made new,
giving it colour and form and texture, making it real.
Not a world of spirit alone, but a world where heaven and earth are married in beautiful life
Not a world of tears, but a world of dancing, and joy
Not a world of violence, but a world of peace
The empty tomb draws me forward to this world, this new world, this world of life, where death and tears are no more, believing its existence, believing its arrival, believing its reality.

And it shapes the way I see Jesus
Not as a victim, but as a warrior
Not as weak, but as the strongest man there ever could be
Not as mere man, but also as God’s son
Not only as friend, but also as Saviour, and Ransom, and Redeemer, and Victor, and Lord

The empty tomb shapes everything for me…
It shapes the way I live, my behaviour, my choices
The risks I take, the place I bring up my family, the way I spend my money,
the approach I take to possessions, the amount I give away.
The empty tomb makes all kinds of things plausible and possible – wild things, crazy things, ridiculous things, adventurous things.
Things that others would think of as mad, as stupid, as folly.
“I am alive with Christ. For me to live is Christ. To die is gain.”
That could only be true if there was an empty tomb

And it shapes my ethics, my morality, my judgements and discernment about what is right, what is wrong.
It shapes the way I use my body, the places I take it, the way I use it, for if I am united to Christ – raised with him – this has implications!
And it affects the things I think about, the way I use my mind – “Since, I have been raised with Christ, I set my heart on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God… and I set your mind on things above, not on earthly things. For I died, and my life is now hidden with Christ in God.”

But it’s more than that… the open tomb opens things up.
It shatters my fears, my expectations, the boxes I put around things
And it opens up new possibilities, new relationships, new directions
It re-orientates me
It restores me
It redeploys me

My life is no longer my own. I have been bought with a price. It convinces me that Jesus died for me and I am his. that he has declared me free of judgement, that he has forgiven my sin, that he has born the debt and he has cancelled the written code that hung over me, condemned me. It persuades me that he has atoned for me, covered my sin, taken it way, washed me whiter than snow. I am his and he is mine. He lives in me and my life is his. The empty tomb has done all this.

And it sends me out… for through the empty tomb I have been commissioned, given a role. I have authorised, gifted, equipped. I have been enlisted and enrolled. I have signed up. His mission is now mine. His message is now mine. His purpose is now mine. His life is now mine. His way of doing things is now mine. His approach is now mine. His will is now mine. Jesus has promised me his Spirit, his breath, his life, to flow through me, drawing me into relationship with the Father.

The empty tomb is everything for me…
It is my past and it is my future
It is my present occupation
It is everything.
I am an Easter person, a ‘new day’ person, a ‘Christian’
I live in the first of the week, trying to make my life point towards those great truths – the resurrection of Jesus and the life of the world to come…
I reign in life through Jesus’ life.
I receive his life – his humility, love and forgiveness, his integrity, his wisdom, strength, joy, his union with the Father. Christ is now my life, the one who strengthens me.
I receive it with thanks and give it total claim to my spirit, soul, body, my heart, mind and will.

The empty tomb shapes everything
The resurrection is everything to me
It’s all I have to boast in.
It’s all I live for
It’s all I rest in
It’s all I believe in