What Do You Do with an Empty Tomb? (Easter 2015)

There are few claims of Christian theology more audacious than the bodily resurrection of Jesus. And any citizen of the 21st century who doesn’t doubt such assertions is probably in need of a good head examination (or a reduction in their AMC viewing…). Dead bodies don’t return to life. Not as ghosts. Not as zombies. And certainly not as itinerant preachers. And yet…

On what would later be known as “Easter” – somewhere around the year 30 C.E. – a group of despairing Jews (who had no expectations of resurrection) went to mourn at the gravesite of their friend and found his tomb…empty.  And they had no idea what to make of that fact.

In this episode we look at the reactions of Jesus’s most intimate followers as they came to grips with events they never expected.  

Before a single Christian declared that “He is risen!” (which many eventually will exclaim), there was much confusion, doubt and a struggle to consider that sometimes the laws of nature don’t get the last word.

Ultimately it was not the “proofs” of theologians and philosophers that brought them to believe that Jesus is alive, nor was it the arguments of historians and logicians…it was encounter.  

Belief in the resurrection came from seeing and hearing (not the empty tomb, but Jesus himself). And so it is today. Reports from reliable sources of an empty tomb can get our attention and – hopefully – open us to consider the  the crazy possibility that Jesus has conquered even death! But faith requires an experience of new life.  And, it turns out, that is not so hard to find as one might think…


This is a sermon that was originally presented at Canvas (a Presbyterian church in Irvine, CA), April 5, 2015 (Easter Sunday). To learn more about Canvas, click here!


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