Links Daily Devotional

Empty, and Not

He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.’” (Luke 24:46-47, NIV)

I don’t know which songs you sang at your church this weekend, but my guess here will probably be better than my attempt to pick the Masters winner in this season of wild finishes.

You likely sang old hymns with words like these:

“Up from the grave he arose,” or, “I serve a risen Savior, he’s in the world today.”

Maybe your worship is more contemporary and the lyrics went like this:

“Hallelujah Jesus is alive
Death has lost its vict’ry
And the grave has been denied!”

Whatever the words, the theme was the same: Christ is no longer in the grave. So often we speak of how he lived and died 2,000 years ago. But he also rose 2,000 years ago, and the grave remains empty to this day.

It’s a critical truth of our faith in Jesus, our faith in God’s promise and power to raise us from the dead, too. “If Christ has not been raised,” Paul told the Corinthians, “your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.”

So here is the wonder. In the same way that we can shout, “Christ is risen!” we may loudly say, “I am not in my sins!”

Before Jesus came and stole your heart, you walked a different path, a course with deadly consequences. You’ve heard the verse and it applies here: “For the wages of sin is death.” There’s no way around it. Stick to your sins and you will die in them. You have no claim to eternity without repentant turning to Jesus. No preacher likes to preach that message. It’s a hard word. It is the word of God, but it is the incomplete word of God.

The complete word of God meets sin with forgiveness and grace. While God demonstrated perfection on earth through Jesus, he recognizes that we are not Jesus. We are sinners, empty of any real life.

And now we sit on our story for today, for our emptiness is met with the emptiness of that tomb where he once lay, dead for our sins not for his. By that empty tomb, the Father can say, “Life has come. It’s here for the taking, if you will do this: believe. Believe that Jesus came to save, that he died to purchase your salvation, and that he rose to complete my work. Abundant life, full life—this comes through the empty tomb. He lives that you may live. Now, what are you waiting for?”

Jeff Hopper
April 6, 2015
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