The resurrection of Jesus baffled everyone.
When the disciples came to Jesus’ empty tomb, they couldn’t comprehend what they were seeing. They had witnessed him die, saw the spear plunge into his side, heard him cry out, “It is finished!”
And yet they were seeing something…
…that simply didn’t make sense. An empty tomb.
But they couldn’t make heads or tails of the resurrection of jesus and the vacant grave clothes and the stone that had been tossed aside. They hadn’t expected him to die. They certainly hadn’t expected this.
What did these things mean?
…for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead.
They knew Jesus was not there but they didn’t really understand what his resurrection meant.
We can be just like the disciples. We know that Jesus rose from the dead but we don’t know what it means for us.
The resurrection is one of the most astounding, glorious, overwhelming events in history.
It. Changed. Everything.
What does the empty tomb mean? Here are 9 glorious things…
#1 – The Resurrection Means Jesus Is Alive
This may sound like I’m stating the obvious but think deeply about this for a moment. Paul said that if the resurrection didn’t happen, we are most to be pitied. Everything we’ve believed and built our lives upon is a horrendous trick, a lie of demonic proportions.
But the resurrection of Jesus IS true, which means that Jesus is alive, which means that everything he promised will happen. It’s not a myth, fairy tale, or children’s tale. Christ is risen from the dead and is achieving EVERYTHING he said he would.
Yes, things may be falling to pieces. Yes, life may be full of struggle and toil and darkness and despair. But there is good news: Jesus is alive.
If Jesus is alive, then we are never without hope.
#2 – The Resurrection Means Jesus Is Reigning
Our risen Lord is just that – Lord. He sits on the throne of heaven, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Our lives and the world may seem insanely chaotic but there is nothing outside of the sovereign rule of King Jesus.
Satan, every demon, and every nation may plot against us and the Lord, and yet Jesus responds like this:
He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision (Ps 2:4).
Nothing can stop our Lord from accomplishing his good plans.
How many times has someone said, “God is dead,” only to be proven wrong again and again?
Politics can’t stop Jesus. Our sin and weakness can’t stop him. Satan can’t stop him. Everything and everyone must bow before the risen and ruling Christ.
There is no better news than that.
#3 – The Resurrection Tomb Means A Man Sits Upon The Throne
This is utterly mind boggling. The incarnation, death, and resurrection of Christ mean that a man, a human, bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh, is seated on the throne of heaven.
God is not distant, unfeeling, and unable to sympathize. We have a king who became like us. He knows hardship, grief, sadness, and rejection. Jesus the King is high and exalted, Jesus the man draws near to the brokenhearted.
Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered (Heb 5:8).
Christ knows the struggle and striving and suffering that come with trying to follow God in a fallen, broken world. Yes, he is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
But he’s also a man who still has scars on his hands, feet, and side.
#4 – The Resurrection Means The Penalty For Sin Has Been Paid
The wages of sin is death. Those who love wickedness must face the just consequences of their choice. Our rightly deserved punishment is both spiritual and physical death.
When Jesus rose from the dead, it demonstrated that the penalty for sin – death – had been satisfied. Nothing else was needed, the price was paid, all had been accomplished.
Death no longer had a claim on Jesus. It could no longer demand that wages be paid to it.
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones wrote:
The Resurrection is the great announcement of the momentous fact that Christ has finished the work He came to do. He is no longer “under the law.” He is back in glory. Why? Because He has done everything that the Law could demand. Now the Law has exhausted itself upon Him, and He will die “no more.”
When Jesus cried, “It is finished,” he was not exaggerating or adding theatrics. It was a beautiful statement of objective truth.
John Piper puts it this way:
The Bible says he was raised not just after the blood-shedding, but by it. This means that what the death of Christ accomplished was so full and so prefect that the resurrection was the reward and vindication of Christ’s achievement in death.
#5 – The Resurrection Means Jesus Will Make All Things New
In the song “All Things New,” Andrew Peterson writes:
So hold on to the promise
The stories are true
That Jesus makes all things new
Jesus will come again, and when he comes he will make ALL things new. Every tear will be wiped away, sin will be eradicated, and this rickety, run-down, sin-stained world will be made new.
No more cancer. No more depression. No more Boko Haram or abortion or school shootings. Right now we live in a dark and dying world, but the king is returning.
Thank God that this world is not our final home. Thank God our life doesn’t consist of eating, drinking, and then dying. The risen Christ will make all things new.
#6 – The Resurrection Means We Will Receive New Bodies
Christ is the first fruits of the harvest that is coming.
Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven (1 Co 15:49).
Right now, our bodies decay. Fall apart. Go to pieces. We are afflicted with migraines, heart disease, PTSD, Alzheimer’s, and ALS. But this won’t always be the case. Christ will return and we will receive new, resurrection bodies that don’t feel the crippling effects of sin.
Our destiny is not to be souls without bodies, floating around in heaven. Just as Christ received a new body when he rose from the grave, so we will receive new, immortal, resurrection bodies.
Bodies that are not and cannot be broken.
That is such good news.
To quote C.S. Lewis, who always puts it more elegantly than me:
#7 – The Resurrection Means We Have A Sympathetic Great High Priest
The risen Jesus is our Great High Priest, taking us into the Most Holy Place, and praying on our behalf. Because he also suffered, he is able to sympathize with our weakness.
He knows our frame, knows that we are dust, and strengthens us accordingly.
Jesus is near to us, helping us, praying for us. He brings our requests to God, purifying and sanctifying them. Because of our sympathetic great high priest, we can draw near with confidence.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Heb 4:15–16).
#8 – The Resurrection Means We Have The Holy Spirit
Now that Jesus is alive, he gives the Holy Spirit to all who believe in Him.
Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this which you see and hear (Acts 2:32-33)
Praise God, the Holy Spirit is no longer reserved for prophets and mighty men and women. He comes to all who believe, weak and strong, young and old, mature and immature.
Through Christ’s death and resurrection, we are brought into a relationship the triune God.
Jesus Christ sends the Holy Spirit to us and also brings into the presence of the Father.
#9 – The Resurrection Means We Have Hope
Though we struggle and flail and stumble now, we have hope. Though we are pressed and afflicted, we are not destroyed. Though we walk through the Valley of Death, we will fear no evil.
We can let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also, the body they may kill, God’s truth abideth still, Jesus has risen from the dead.
How was Paul able to sustain hope when he lay beaten and broken in prison cells? How was John able to be hopeful while exiled on the Isle of Patmos?
Because they both had seen the risen Savior. They knew that their King was alive, that he was with them, and that nothing could stop his good plans.
He Is Risen Indeed!
The resurrection of Jesus changes absolutely everything. We have hope for the future, the Holy Spirit for today, and the guarantee that Jesus is returning to make all things new.
Christ is risen from the dead…risen indeed!