Sometimes things are not all they seem. Empty is a word that signifies nothing. But empty has a different meaning when we relate it to being poured out, giving your all, sacrificing everything. At Easter we celebrate an empty tomb? There is tremendous significance in not finding Jesus in the tomb, finding it empty. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
I would sometimes begin the Easter service by offering the children the best Easter egg they had ever seen. Each one received the plastic egg with the instructions not to open it until the end of the service. They held onto them with the assurance that what was inside was going to be great. At the end of the service each one would open their egg and find it empty. They would ask me “what is so great about an empty egg?” I would then help them to understand the meaning of empty.
When you hear the word empty you think that something is wrong or missing. That is not the same with Christ, empty means hope and salvation. Let’s explore that a little. A few things had to happen to make Easter possible. First Jesus had to come to Earth in the form of a man. Scripture puts it this way;
Philippians 2:6-8; NASB; (Jesus) who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Before Jesus could come to Earth, he had to set some of His privileges of being God aside. He had to empty himself out. Think of it like going to prison. I hope none of you have experienced this, but if you have you know what I am speaking of. You have to remove everything and surrender everything to the guards. They give you new clothes to wear and hold on to your personal belongings until you are set free again.
It was the same for Jesus, He imprisoned Himself in the form of a human and set aside His Godliness for our sake. He became a slave for us. He didn’t demand his rights as the Son of God, He set those rights aside so that we could be free. He emptied himself.
Do we know the significance of what that means? When was the last time we emptied ourself for someone else? When was the last time it didn’t matter what we wanted but it mattered what someone else needed more? When was the last time we let something go and didn’t demand our rights or to be treated fairly?
They are the times when we think more of ourselves than we should. They are the times when we think we are something special and others should honor us. There are times when we become full of ourselves. These are the times we lose sight of the sacrifice Christ made for us.
Jesus emptied himself out so that we would have the opportunity to be free from the bondage of sin. How free are we today? Do we have freedom in Christ? He made it available for us. To come to Earth Jesus had to empty Himself, to return to heaven He had to empty the tomb.
The empty tomb separates Christianity from every other religion? Other religions point to a founder who’s grave and remains can be located and identified. We know where Christ was laid to rest but the place is still empty. He is alive. He has victory over death. He offers the same to us.
Death could not hold Christ and it should not hold us. One of our biggest fears in life is dying. We know the odds, 100% of us will die. Why then, if it is a foregone conclusion, does it make us so fearful? I think it is fear of the unknown. We fear what we don’t know and try desperately to hold onto what we do know regardless if it is the best for us or not. Christ went to the grave and overcame death so that our fear could be removed. He put it this way;
John 14:1-4; “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
Jesus prepares a place for us beyond death. A place that is better than the one we know. A place in heaven. Think of it this way, God created everything we have here. It was paradise, then we corrupted it. We spoiled and wasted it. How much better will heaven be if it is unspoiled? I can’t wait. There is work to be done before we get there though.
Do you remember the children holding the eggs? When we open them and what do we find? They are empty, but yet they are full. They are full of life, full of hope, full of peace and full of love. In their emptiness we find everything we need to know about God. Jesus emptied Himself for you and me. He conquered death for you and me. He is waiting for our response.
How will we respond to this gift? Will we accept the offer Christ makes and fill ourselves with His Spirit? Will we empty ourselves for others? Will we be the ones to go and bring the message of the empty tomb to others; the message of Hope, Peace and Love? Christ emptied Himself for us, now we need to empty ourselves for Him.