The Empty Tomb
Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.
An introduction of redemption history points out that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of our Christian faith. There is no real Christianity without Christ’s resurrection. His resurrection was the coming back to life of His physical body. He ate, walked, talked, and was seen by many witnesses. This required real flesh, not a figment of one’s imagination. He came as God-Man taking on flesh, that He might fulfill God’s plan of going to the Cross to bear the penalty of our sins. He rose again from the dead, or our faith would be in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:3-4,16-17, “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.”
Many of the Old Testament saints believed there would be a resurrection of the dead:
-Abraham, in offering up his son Isaac, believed that God would raise Isaac up. He knew that in Isaac his seed would be called (Genesis 22, Hebrews 11:17-19).
-The Psalmist wrote in Psalm 49:15: “But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me.” Psalm 73:24: “Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.”
-The prophet Isaiah believed in the resurrection. Isaiah 26:19: “Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.”
-Daniel spoke of a resurrection. Daniel 12:2: “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” Where do you want to wake up when you die?
-Hosea mentioned a resurrection. Hosea 6:2: “After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.”
-Job believed in the resurrection. Job 14:14: “If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.” Here is Job’s confident response to his question. Job 19:25-27: “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.”
The New Testament teaches of a resurrection.
-Jesus said: “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live” (John 11:25). In comforting His disciples prior to His death, Jesus said: “Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also” (John 14:19).
-Paul in 1 Corinthians 15 details the importance of the resurrection. Without it there is no Christianity, no redemption, and no forgiveness of sins. In Acts 13, Paul was on a missionary journey, and he bravely declared this same message. A message that is relevant today. 2 Corinthians 4:14: “Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.”
-In Peter’s first sermon after Pentecost, he taught the importance of Christ’s death and resurrection. Acts 2:32: “This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.”
What was it like visiting the tomb after Christ’s death? (Matthew 28:1-10)
There was sorrow (verse 1). The women returned with the sorrowful task of finishing the preparation of Christ’s body for burial.
There was shock (verses 2-7). The women were greeted by a great earthquake, the angel of the Lord who had descended from heaven and rolled back the stone from the door, and the keepers who did shake and became as dead men. What must it have been like to hear the angel say: “Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you”?
There was suspense (verse 8). Was it possible that Jesus was alive? With fear and joy, the women ran to tell the disciples.
There was surrender (verse 9). Jesus met the women on their way. They fell at His feet and worshipped Him.
There was service (verse 10). Jesus assured the women, and then He commanded them to go and tell the others.
The women’s sorrow was turned to joy and purpose. How does that affect us? Because of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, we have the provision for forgiveness of our sins. We also have hope, purpose, peace, and assurance of our own resurrection. Have you surrendered to Christ and sought to serve Him? 1 John 5:10-13: “He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” Do you know that you have eternal life?