What is the significance of the empty tomb?

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

There are many interesting things in this context that we should note:

John 20:1-9

1 "Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came early to the tomb, while it was still dark, and saw the stone already taken away from the tomb.

2 So she ran and came to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him."

3 So Peter and the other disciple went forth, and they were going to the tomb.

4 The two were running together; and the other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter and came to the tomb first;

5 and stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings lying there; but he did not go in.

6 And so Simon Peter also came, following him, and entered the tomb; and he saw the linen wrappings lying there,

7 and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself.

8 So the other disciple who had first come to the tomb then also entered, and he saw and believed.

9 For as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead."

Several interesting discoveries here.

1) The skeptics point out that the stone had been rolled away, and that Mary thought the body had been taken, therefore it's obvious that men rolled away the stone and took the body. There's no such thing as the resurrection. But we have that wonderful passage in Matthew 28 which gives us even greater detail:

Matt 28:2

"And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it."

2) Another discovery made here concerns itself with the burial cloth. It was found to be lying in two pieces. The "Shroud of Turin" is a single piece of cloth, therefore cannot be the original cloth as claimed.

3) But the greatest discovery in the history of the world was made that day, and Mary, and the other disciples didn't even realize it.

We pray that some day man will discover a cure for cancer! I'm praying that we will. It's taken the lives of so man people who I love, and I believe that we will someday find a cure. And when we do, the magnitude of that discovery will be world shaking-news!

There have been world shaking-discoveries in the history of man, haven't there. What do you think happened when man first discovered how to use fire? And then there was the earth-shaking discovery of electricity. Remember when they discovered a vaccine for polio what that meant to the world?

But here, right here in John chapter 20 is the record of the greatest discovery in the history of mankind. An empty tomb! An empty tomb! And poor Mary did not know what to think. It was a great trial to Mary, that the body was gone. Weak believers often make that the matter of complaint, which is really just ground of hope, and matter of joy.

Now, we can't be to hard on poor Mary, because she didn't understand the promises which had previously been given. All the implications of the empty tomb were not immediately recognized.

But here is the most important point of all, which we must not miss, and all of Christianity hangs in the balance of the truth taught here – THE TOMB WAS EMPTY! THE GRAVE COULD NOT CONTAIN JESUS! THE EMPTY TOMB MEANT VICTORY OVER SIN AND SATAN, AND DEATH ITSELF.

Read with me Hebrews 2:14-15:

Hebrews 2:14-15

14 "Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,

15 and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives."

Jesus conquered sin, Satan, and death, just as He promised he would, and the promise is discovered in an empty tomb. Now somehow, the cross has become the symbol of Christianity, which, I think is somewhat unfortunate. There were many, thousands of people who were crucified, but there has only been one empty tomb! The sad thing is so many people today do not know about that empty tomb.

So the answer is found in verse 9

9 "For as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead."

Mary had yet to understand the significance of the discovery. The question is……. do you?

Comments are closed.