What do you do when you come to the tomb and find it empty? What do you do when your Lord and Savior, the One who was beaten, crucified, and killed, is put into the grave and when you visit it a few days later, you find that He is no longer there? What do you do with the empty tomb? You run.
“Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.’ So Peter went with the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and they were going toward the tomb. Both of them were running together… ” -John 20:1-4, emphasis mine.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is not a passive or inactive event. Faced with the empty tomb, the disciples begin to run. They begin to exert themselves, to devote energy and effort to figure out what has happened and where the body has gone. Mary brings the news and the group seemingly wastes no time in getting to the tomb. They don’t dilly dally or write off the assertion, they run to the grave site. And when they see the empty tomb, when they see the power of God on display, that He has defeated death, they begin to tell others. The resurrection changes everything. In His death on the cross, Jesus brings glory to God the Father and brings forgiveness for all who believe in Him. Through His crucifixion, Jesus breaks down the dividing wall of hostility and empowers us to enter with confidence into the presence of our Heavenly Father. And with the empty grave, Jesus defeats death showing us the full, abundant, and eternal life that is found only through Him. It’s because of this empty tomb, it is through Jesus rising from the grave, that our faith is made complete; that our mission is not in vain. The resurrection is an essential part of our faith. The resurrection changes everything. It changes you, it changes me, it changes all who hear the good news of salvation and believe in Him.
So what are you doing with this good news? As Pastor Jeff asked this past week, “are you running with the message or keeping it to yourself?” Is the power of the resurrection evident in the life you live or are you more infatuated with the idea of following Jesus than actually following Him? Confronted with the empty tomb, confronted with the truth of who Jesus is and what He has done, the disciples run and tell others. Equipped with the truth of the resurrection, the disciples go out and continue the mission. It’s our turn now. The baton has been passed, the message has been handed down, and the Church today is called to run. To run across the street and share this gospel with their neighbors. To run across the city proclaiming freedom for those held captive by the bonds of sin and death. To run to the ends of the earth, to every nation and tribe and people rejoicing and celebrating that the tomb is empty and that Christ has risen and that we are free indeed!
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.” -Hebrews 12:1-3.