A WORD IN PASSING May 2017
The tomb was empty. But whatever the interpretation, whatever people said, at the end of the day
all there would have been was the mystery of an empty tomb. It took more than an empty tomb to trigger the excitement and joy that errupted in the hearts of so many that first Easter day.
By itself the empty tomb could have been explained in a number of albeit unlikely and unconvincing ways; tomb robbers, the body moved by the authorities or the disciples, a mistake in identifying the correct tomb, etc. Even the testimony of the angelic witnesses that Jesus had risen was insufficient for faith, resulting only in, 'trembling, bewilderment .. tears' Mark 16:8; John 20:11.
What was needed, what was essential, was a personal encounter with the risen Lord.
It was when they encounter Jesus Himself that the reality of what had happened, what Jesus had foretold, hit home,
'Suddenly Jesus met them [the women]. "Greetings," he said. They came to him, clasped his feet
and worshipped him.' Matthew 28:9
Mary Magdalene 'turned towards him and cried out,"Teacher!" .. she went to the disciples with
the news: "I have seen the Lord!" John 20: 16,18
As on that first Easter day, so it is today. Unless we too have a personal encounter with the risen Lord Jesus faith, saving faith, will remain absent.
It's possible to argue rationally that the tomb was empty - but rationale never got anyone into God's kingdom. It's possible to make an emotional appeal on the grounds of personal experience that Jesus is alive - but emotional conviction never got anyone into God's kingdom. Only a personal encounter and a personal acceptance of the risen Saviour can secure that gift of grace.
Today that encounter happens in a different mode from the encounters on that first Easter day. Then, the risen Jesus appeared in a physical (albeit glorified) body; He could be touched, eat, conversed with, etc. But now, since His ascension and the day of Pentecost, the risen Jesus comes to us through the presence of the Holy Spirit - 'the Spirit of Jesus' Acts 16:7. 'Spiritual' though the encounter now is it is still a Personal encounter and remains the essential encounter for our salvation.
Salvation comes through relationship and not through religion and that saving relationship comes through the risen Christ alone.
"Salvation is found in no-one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by
which we must be saved." Acts 4:12
And for that relationship to beging each one of us needs a personal encounter with the risen Jesus. An empty tomb is but an empty tomb. Personal testimonies are but 'personal' testimonies. In that sense at least 'doubting' Thomas (John 20:25) was right - only a personal encounter with, and a personal to the risen Jesus will do. As it was then so it is now, the essential encounter precedes saving faith.
Have you met with the risen Jesus? Will you ask Him to come to you?
Do you know Him as your Saviour and Lord? Will you give Him His rightful place in your life?