, Muskogee, OK

March 27, 2013

Fort Faith: The empty tomb is still a big deal

— By Barrett Vanlandingham

Mark 16:1-6 says, “When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him.

2 Very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb.

3 They were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?”

4 Looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back it was very large.

5 Entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed.

6 He said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him.”

What a wonderfully mind-blowing story! Imagine Jesus waking in the grave, as the Spirit of God rolled the stone away from the tomb.

The risen Christ, experiencing the warmth of sunshine on his face and resurrected body after three days of separation from his father. Death was now defeated. The prophecies fulfilled.

Obviously, the resurrection of Jesus is just one of the things people think about at Easter. But the fact that there is an empty grave brings countless blessings for which we can be thankful, not the least of which is our hope of a life in heaven.

As I think about some of my fondest Easter memories, everything from coloring and hunting eggs as a kid, to seeing everyone all dressed up for Easter worship services come to mind. But I think the blessing of family during any holiday always ranks at the top of things for which to be thankful.

No matter what Easter means to you, all good things are made possible because of God’s love, mercy, and grace whether we realize it or not. The fact that Jesus came from heaven to earth to live as one of us gives him a unique perspective.

Jesus has always gone to the extremes to show his love for us. And even after dying on a cross, he chose to keep the scars in his hands, feet, and side after the resurrection.

He would use these battle wounds to convince a doubting Thomas that this was indeed a face-to-face encounter with the Messiah.

Thomas certainly experienced life differently from that day forward, as did dozens of other people Jesus appeared to including a crowd of 500 (1 Corinthians 15:6). Even today, we can experience a new life in Christ (Romans 6:1-11 & 2 Corinthians 5:17).

I pray that you have a happy Easter and much joy everyday because of a risen Savior.

Reach Barrett Vanlandingham at the Fort Gibson Church of Christ at (918) 478-2222 or