The Tomb is Empty? Yeah! He is Risen and The Lord is With us!

What Happened?

Luke 24:12, Psalm 16

 † Jesus, Son, Savior †

May the God’s presence flood your life with peace and love and mercy, washing it clean as we realize two intersecting truths:  Jesus has Risen, and The Lord is with you

Duh – What Happened?

The tomb is….empty?

As he runs to the tomb, the words echo in his mind, the words of the women, the words that can’t make sense…

the tomb is empty?

Nonsense! As the images pound through Peter’s mind, the scene at the last supper, the scene in the garden, the torches, the anger, the betrayal…the words echoing with every footfall,

the tomb is empty..

Even as the rocky ground passes underneath him in a blur, the crowds yelling crucify Him, Christ’s Body whipped and broken, dragging that beam.. and the words echo again,

the tomb is….. empty!

The pain in his legs growing as he runs out of the city and up the hill towards the tomb – yet knowing his pain is nothing compared to what he witnessed, the hammer pounding the spikes, Jesus looking… it seemed like he was looking right at Peter as he talked, begging the Father to forgive them. Those words hurting so much, as Peter realizes his betrayal, and now these words,

“the tomb is empty!”

Nonsense! The words echo, as do other words, the voice of Jesus prophesying the temples destruction, and the miracle of Jonah, so many words about death and something after… as Peter arrives and looks in and sees for himself,

the tomb is empty…

In awe, confused, shaken, dazed, amazed, shocked…he walks away.. not sure what to make of it all…..muttering. “the tomb is… empty

Hear the gospel again,

“then he went home again, wondering what had happened.”

That’s where the gospel ends?  Really? With Peter wondering, “what happened?  Really?  What happened?

Our Journey

As I struggled with this passage this week, the more and more I realized that this moment defines Peter as much as any, as he walks away from the tomb, in awe, confused, not quite sure what is going on in life.  It’s going to take him a while to process it all, and indeed several private talks with Jesus.  Peter will eventually get it and we see the result at Pentecost, and with Cornelius and as he writes two letters, that tell of the hope he knows, even as he awaits persecution and death.

I also realized that this has been my story, all too often in life.  That I know, as we gather around this altar, as we celebrate the death of Christ on the cross and the resurrection, the fact that the tomb is empty.  Those facts are undeniable, they are true.

But how often do we walk away, not sure what that has to do with us?  How often do we miss that this entire week, was for us?  That this isn’t some celebration of history, like president’s day, or the fourth of July or even Mother’s Day.  How often do we walk away, sure in awe, but not getting it?

The Tomb is empty folks.  That means Praise God, He is Risen. Even more, it means that the Lord is with you!

David’s run!

Since Peter walked away, and his story for a moment was paused – let’s look at David’s Psalm.  For there we pick up our story and the kind of thoughts that occur as we get it, we realize what the empty tomb means.  David got it – about 1000 years before the cross, and the description of what David realized comes across so clearly in this Psalm.

David’s hit that point where Peter is – so overwhelmed – so out of it as he looks around him.  It’s going to take him a few verses to get re-oriented – to get his thoughts straight.  At the end of his rope, He “runs” to God, pleading for safety, pleading for a sanctuary, a place of rest – that God would be his Lord, the one accepting the responsibility of caring and providing for David and keeping him safe and sane.  Look there – he comes to the realization that this world doesn’t make sense – apart from Christ.

I think most of us get that part at least – what we experience, what we go through, from our own sin to the evil we encounter in the world, it doesn’t click, we find this world – and yeah our lives broken.  Out of desperation perhaps – we think we reach out to God.

And somehow – we are surprised at what we find!

Others who God has reached out to – those He has called – the ones He is healing, they are pretty interesting people!  They make great people to hang out with – heck – there always seems to be great food around them too!  We find that we aren’t the only ones who were shopping for an idol, a false God to meet our needs,  only to demand more and more out of us before they fail to deliver what we thought we would.

God’s like addictions, whether work or drugs or sex or whatever it is that we think will provide that which will heal our emptiness that will remove our pain, our nothingness. Heck, we are so good at creating false gods, some of us can even create them to look like religion,  Yet there is no peace, the gods we have fail us… even as they failed David, even as they confused Peter.

But the tomb is empty.  Praise God – He is Risen!  And the Lord is with You!

The Biggest Surprise!

As David processes things – the big “aha” moment shows up in verse 5.  Let’s read it together,

5 My choice is you, GOD, first and only. And now I find I’m your choice!

David figures it out – we don’t have to run to God, at least we don’t have to run far – He is here – He chose us – all of us, He wants us in His life, He wants to be our God, our Lord, our Father.

That’s the reason the tomb is empty, that’s the reason He has risen.  The Lord wants to be with you – (wait…then ask aren’t you going to response) to share life together with us!  To sustain and carry us through the times where we can’t walk alone – and to remind us that we don’t have to be alone.

David got that – oh did he get that – as God cleansed him of sin, as brought healing to a life ravaged by others like Saul and his son.  As he lost another son, and his best friend.  As his nation turned their back on him, God was there!  The depth of emotions of the pain that is turned to joy just pours through the psalms – the worship that He writes.

For he realized God chose him, even as God chose Peter…even as God chooses to walk with us, to dwell with us.

Plot Lines

That’s seen in the next verse – the odd line about a house and a yard.  In more literal translations it is talked about as God setting the plot lines for our inheritance, a beautiful and pleasant and peaceful place.  But really, it is talking about how we live with God, each and every

Jesus talks about this as the mansions and rooms that He goes to prepare for us.

And yet God doesn’t even wait for that to come and live with us.  St Paul asks us,

16 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit makes His home in you? 1 Corinthians 3:16 (Parker’s Paraphrase)

The implications of that will take a lifetime to discover, it’s more than a set of eyes peering into a dark tomb can see.

But that is why David is happy, that is what he realizes He never wants to let go, for the risen and reigning Christ, and His glory is reflecting from our faces, for He has taken our hand – and walks through life with us.

Let’s start by just knowing this –

– The Tomb is Empty

–  Praise God!  He has Risen

–  And that means, He is with you!

And because of that – the peace of God, which passes all understanding, is yours, and in it you are protected, your hearts and mind guarded by Christ himself.  AMEN!!!

About justifiedandsinner

I am a pastor of a Concordia Lutheran Church in Cerritos, California, where we rejoice in God's saving us from our sin, and the unrighteousness of the world. It is all about His work, the gift of salvation given to all who trust in Jesus Christ, and what He has done that is revealed in Scripture. God deserves all the glory, honor and praise, for He has rescued and redeemed His people.

Posted on March 31, 2013, in Sermons and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

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