Standing in the Empty Tomb

Scholars and historians and archaeologists disagree on where the tomb of Jesus is located. Much of this confusion and disagreement is the result of some pretty bizarre decisions made in the 4th Century. I’m not planning on getting into that in this article.

Having said that, I know where the tomb is.  I’ve stood in it.  The evidence is overwhelming.  It’s in a garden, near a vineyard, outside of the city walls of 1st Century Jerusalem.  The location is known as “Gordon’s Tomb” or the “Garden Tomb.”

I’ve been there three times.  But the last time was very unique.  The previous times I’d been to Gordon’s Tomb, the complex was crowded with hundreds of people filing in and out, stopping at the entrance to take pictures.  This religious site is pretty overwhelming to the senses, but the crowds can be somewhat distracting.

But the last time I was at the tomb, the complex was void of the usual crowds and cameras.  Throughout the entire area, there was maybe a dozen people.  This provided a very special opportunity.

I was able to walk into the tomb without feeling rushed.  There wasn’t anyone waiting outside for a turn to get in themselves.  So, I stood there.  For several minutes. By myself.

Standing there, looking at the place where my Messiah and Savior lay for three days and three nights, I was able to take everything in.

My friend, the tomb is empty.

But there’s something that hit me like a blast of wind while I stood there praying and thinking. A verse that I’d heard so many times that the familiarity of it truly bred contempt.

If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. – Romans 8:11 ESV

The same power that raised the Messiah from the dead dwells in us.  Even as I write these words, a chill runs down my spine.  What would happen in our lives, our families, our churches – our nation and our world – if we truly grasped this verse?

The Spirit of God that lives in us desires to use us to accomplish His will and the advancement of His Kingdom.

This Resurrection Day, take time to focus on more than just the traditional trappings of the holiday.  Don’t miss the power of the resurrection.  The Messiah defeated death.  He’s alive and seated at the right hand of the Father.  He’s coming back, and when He does, He will finish building an eternal unshakeable Kingdom.

But that Kingdom is being built now.  In you and me, and through you and me. In our families and churches and cities. And the power to bring revolutionary change everywhere we go is literally dwelling in us.

Take a moment to reflect on these lyrics to the songs Forever and You Are I Am:

The ground began to shake

The stone was rolled away

His perfect love could not be overcome

Death – where is your sting?

Our everlasting King has rendered you defeated!

Forever, He is glorified

Forever, He is lifted high

Forever, He is risen

He is alive! He is alive!

The veil is torn

And now I live

With the Spirit inside

The same one – the very same one

That brought the Son back to life…

Hallelujah! He lives in me!

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