Hope Beyond the Grave
Written by Rev. Nicholas Davelaar
Published in the Courier of Russellville, Arkansas
Sometime back I came across a great little cartoon. It was simple as far as cartoons go, having only one frame.
This cartoon featured two men—soldiers—standing on either side of the open entrance of a tomb. The fact that this is a tomb and not a cave is evident from the stone to one side of the entrance, with the name “Jesus” etched on it.
And just in case the name of Jesus isn’t enough to help us understand that this cartoon is depicting the empty tomb of Jesus, we also see three crosses, standing on a hilltop in the background.
In this cartoon we see these two men looking at the tomb entrance, and we hear one say to the other, “Betcha ten shekels those Christians have fifty new songs by this weekend.”
This little cartoon is spot on. The empty tomb—Jesus’ empty tomb, to be more specific—has given birth to songs of joy ever since.
Were Jesus to have merely died on the cross, he would have been little different from the two robbers crucified along with him. Were he to have merely died, he would have proven himself to be a mere man for whom the wages of sin—death according to Romans 6:23—proved too much to overcome, much less save others from.
Christ Jesus, however, didn’t merely die. He also rose from the dead. And therein we sinners may have hope.
Over four hundred years ago one of the Protestant Reformers summarized the hope Christ’s resurrection gives us. He asked the question: “How does Christ’s resurrection benefit us?”
He then proceeded to summarize the testimony of Scripture this way: “First, by his resurrection Christ has overcome death, so that he might make us share in the righteousness he won for us by his death.
“Second, by his power we too are already now resurrected to a new life.
“Third, Christ’s resurrection is a guarantee of our glorious resurrection.”
Needless to say, Christ Jesus not only died for his people, but he rose for them as well.
Do you have this hope on account of his resurrection from the dead?
Or are you perhaps oblivious to the occurrence and significance of his resurrection?
Many of us remember all the “Never Forget” banners and shirts that appeared after 9/11. The events of that day were of such a magnitude and significance that many people committed themselves to never forget.
Yet, in the grand scheme of history, 9/11 sadly doesn’t stand out all that much. History abounds with death and destruction.
Jesus’ resurrection, however—that’s something new. And glorious.
Think about that.
For further study, read 1 Corinthians 15:3-22.
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