“There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone. The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said’” (Matthew 28:2, 5, 6).
Jesus has risen! “Where, O death, is your victory?” (1 Corinthians 15:55). The tomb is empty. Hope is alive! “Christ has indeed been raised from the dead. So in Christ all will be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:20, 22).
Jesus crucified is risen. Jesus, who like a lamb quietly went to his death, is enthroned at the right hand of God, the King of kings, the Lord of lords. He who died in weakness rose from the grave, from death, in power. The power and mighty strength of God was “exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything” for the good of God’s people (Ephesians 1:19-22).
I come to the empty tomb of Christ. The graves which hold my parents and my grandson no longer instill hopelessness and fear within my heart. The grave which one day will hold my lifeless body is no longer fearful to me. Death’s strangling grip on my heart has been broken.
Jesus Christ shared in our humanity “so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death” (Hebrews 2:14-15). In Christ I am freed from the fear of death. For in Christ I am alive in God and live with the hope of the resurrection to eternal life. This hope is not a “what if”, an “I hope so, but I’m not sure.” This hope is hope for it is certain. “By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also” (1 Corinthians 6:14).
Jesus is risen! He is at the right hand of God! Yes, we await the resurrection to come with hope and expectation. I am confident that now in spirit my parents and my grandson are not entombed as are their lifeless, spiritless, bodies. They are with Christ waiting for the resurrection to come. The apostle wrote of his expectation to be with Christ after death. “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).
The resurrection of Christ means resurrection life for us, not only in the future, but even now. Resurrection life is life lived in faith trusting the power, grace, and love of God and of Christ. Resurrection life is life lived in the hope of our eternal inheritance in Christ. Resurrection life is living with the joy of hope deeply planted in our hearts. Resurrection life is living faithfully before God. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:3, 8, 9). “Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure” (1 John 3:3).