An Empty Grave Changes Everything
All human beings exist in the tension of living a meaningful life that will inevitably end in death. And we all long for a way to overcome and escape death.
In his well-esteemed book, A Brief History of Thought, Luc Ferry delivers a remarkable statement:
“The Christian response to mortality for believers at least, is without question the most ‘effective’ of all responses: it would seem to be the only version of salvation that enables us to not only transcend the fear of death, but also to beat death itself… It is this new definition of love, found at the heart of the new doctrine of salvation, which finally turns out to be ‘stronger than death.’”
What makes the insight so astounding is that Luc is not a Christian. Fascinating that, as a nonbeliever, he can see and tap into the importance and unique value of who Jesus is and what He did: that God’s love is so potent that He would go to the cross and die for His people and His love is so powerful that He would conquer death itself.
Jesus Christ is, in my view, the most important and interesting man in human history. He consistently shatters stereotypes and expectations and draws us to look behind the curtain.
How does the supposedly true story of a man crucified, buried, and resurrected change not just the course of human history but the countless lives of individuals across every conceivable demographic — race, gender, socioeconomic, political tribe, etc.? What [every day] value lies in an empty tomb that changes hearts and minds?
What makes Jesus so special and worthy of all the attention and following?
I recently faced a choice at the crossroads of life: to go my own way or to follow Christ.
Like a moth to the flame, the innate desire to live an autonomous life seemed satisfactory. The thought of hanging up my cross and living life by my rules was tempting; there were countless moments when the allure of going my own way was more desirable than living with Jesus as God and King, and I gave it serious consideration.
And yet I stayed with Christ.
Why? The same reason the disciples stayed as depicted in John’s gospel.
Jesus asked His remaining followers if they would walk away as others had, and Peter said: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” [John 6:68].
How could I walk away from the person who offers me eternal life — a life full of true love, joy, peace, and freedom? How could I abandon the person who says I don’t have to stay in the grave physically and spiritually?
Because Jesus Christ presents Himself as the greatest treasure, there was no alternative: it was Christ or nothing.
I came face to face with that transcendent experience that Thomas à Kempis details in the opening pages of The Imitation of Christ: that when we look to Christ, the glory of the world fades away.
The truth of Jesus Christ’s life, death, and resurrection provide a paradigm that changes the world in which I inhabit and the life I live.
Why would I choose a life created in my own image when I could receive Christ — in whose image I am created — and experience all of who He is and His many blessings:
- Everlasting Love [the attention, acceptance, and affection] from God
- Victory over sin, death, and Satan
- Freedom to break cycles of guilt and shame
- Joy that sustains in the midst of suffering like depression and anxiety
- Identity that never changes and can never be canceled
- Hope in a world full of despair
- Memes that make fun of American evangelical culture
There are plenty more blessings Christ offers than what I have briefly listed; the Apostle Paul says God blessed us with every spiritual blessing [see Ephesian 1].
In a recent interview, Tim Keller stated that:
“If the resurrection of Jesus Christ really happened, then ultimately, God is going to put everything right. Suffering is going to go away. Evil is going to go away. Death is going to go away. Aging is going to go away. Pancreatic cancer is going to go away. Now if the resurrection of Jesus Christ did not happen, then I guess all bets are off. But if it actually happened, then there’s all the hope in the world.”
If Jesus came out of the grave, then that changed everything.
In a world littered with brokenness, Jesus brings forth healing; in a world full of chaos, Jesus provides peace; in a world stricken with death, Jesus gives life. Not merely in a temporal sense but in an ultimate victory for all eternity.
Jesus is the perfect anchor of hope, a source of strength and stability through the storms of life and in the face of death.
Despite the coordinated campaigns of chocolate and candy-producing companies, the meaning of Easter isn’t to stuff our faces with a variety of sweets.
In its original and historical setting, the holiday never had anything to do with bunnies or chocolate eggs — and if you are a conspiracy junkie, it might be worth your time to venture down the rabbit hole to figure out how the candy industry hijacked the Easter holiday.
Easter is a religious holiday celebrated once during a calendar year. But the reality of an empty grave is something that beckons our conscious consideration every day.
If Jesus indeed came out of the grave, that turns the world upside down, and that same man looks at us and says, “Follow Me” and “Come all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”
And our travel on His path will not be wasted and will not end in the defeat of death — for death itself has been defeated by Christ.
The empty tomb is evidence that we can be filled with eternal life.