by Dane Massey
(Dane Massey is the former Pastor of Mulvane Christian Church. He is now in ministry in Houston, Texas.)
My heart and mind is captive to the cross and an empty grave!
Genesis opens with the glory of creation but slams shut with a coffin (Gen. 50:26). Exodus opens with the glorious deliverance of Israel but the Old Testament and Israel’s history will end with a curse. (Malachi 4:6).
History is a long funeral procession filled with misery and destruction. Whether it’s nation against nation, Hitler and the Nazis trying to exterminate the Jews, Coronavirus, Black Plague, neighbor against neighbor, a nuclear bomb or old age, death is always at the door.
History has certainly confirmed one thing, Solomon was right when he wrote in Ecclesiastes: Vanity, vanity! Everything under the sun is vanity, empty, meaningless!
Doctors work around the clock to save one life, for life is precious. Yet they know, as one leaves the hospital “healed,” that they have merely put off the unavoidable, death.
This planet is a graveyard.
BUT WAIT! On a hill, in a backwater country of the Roman empire, outside of the city of Jerusalem stands a cross that isn’t a graver marker. It points to an empty tomb.
If the soul that sins shall surely die, and all are sinners, then what is the meaning of this cross and an empty grave? Could this “death” on a cross have broken the curse of sin?
The empty tomb is the testimony that the cross of Christ was, is and always will be the all-sufficient payment for sin! Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
Peter said it well, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:3-5 NKJV).
We have a lively, living hope, literally an energizing, quickening hope.
Want a reason to get out of bed every morning? Forget setting goals, finding purpose, being the best you that you can be. That is all vanity and nonsense that can come to a screeching halt with a virus or a coffin.
Embrace the cross and meet a living Savior! Walk with the One who gives a blessed hope “above the sun” for everything under the sun is vanity.
Paul spends 57 verses in I Corinthians 15 defending the glorious truth of the Resurrection of Christ and therefore our future resurrection (read it today!) and he ends the chapter with this verse:
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”
The Amplified Version expresses it this way, “Therefore, my beloved brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord [always doing your best and doing more than is needed], being continually aware that your labor [even to the point of exhaustion] in the Lord is not futile nor wasted [it is never without purpose].”
It is the hope of the resurrection, the blessed hope of the coming of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, “who gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from all iniquity…” (Titus 2:14).
Without the empty tomb nothing matters, it is all vanity, but because of the empty tomb it all matters.
Life is worth the living because He Lives!
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