The Empty Tomb

The Empty Tomb

Having looked in the tearful eyes of parents whose children have abandoned the Faith, I have learned there are a million miles between our children “going through the motions” in reference to the spiritual lives versus our children possessing hearts that dictate their actions. In this column, I plan to share with you what I hope to instill in the hearts of my children and those whom I love.

If Jesus could not make it out of the tomb, we don't have any hope.

If Jesus could not make it out of the tomb, we don’t have any hope.

Every year thousands of Muslims make a pilgrimage to Mecca to the tomb of Muhammad. Likewise, followers of Confucianism visit the grave of Confucius in Qufu, Shandong Province of China. Similarly, the Temple of the Tooth or “Dalada Maligawa” is believed to house some of the cremated ashes of Buddha. Having been buried centuries ago, the physical bodies of these religious founders are slowly turning to dust as millions journey to pay honor and respect.

Christianity is unique in that we serve a risen Savior. There are no remains to which to pilgrimage. Our Savior Jesus Christ fully conquered death. For those skeptics who vehemently cling to naturalistic causes for everything, the bodily resurrection of Jesus seems ludicrous. They laugh at the very notion. Yet, what does the evidence prove?

Here’s what I intend on teaching my children about the resurrection.
Everything hinges on the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Paul wrote to the church in Corinth, “And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up-if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen your faith is futile; you are still in your sins” (1 Corinthians 15:14-17). Simply put, if Jesus could not make it out of the tomb, we don’t have any hope.

When you consider the resurrection, ask yourself first and foremost: Who moved the stone? Make no doubt about it, the individuals living at that time took ample measure to make sure the tomb was secure. The chief priests and Pharisees spoke to Pilate and said, “Sir we remember while He was still alive, how that deceiver said ‘After three days I will rise.’ Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day, lest His disciples come by night and steal Him away” (Matthew 27:63-64). We learn from Matthew’s account that the stone in front of the tomb was sealed and a guard was assigned to watch the tomb (27:65-66).

And yet, even with all of this preparation, the tomb was found empty. Logic tells us that if the Jews took the body, they would have paraded it all around town denouncing the notion that Jesus was indeed the Messiah. If they really knew where the body was, it would have surfaced not long after the crucifixion. Likewise, if the disciples took the body then they would have known for certain that the resurrection was a hoax. Not only did they preach about the bodily resurrection of Jesus, but many went to their deaths in proclaiming it. Who would go to his own death perpetuating a lie? A stranger off the street would not have taken it for fear of the guard and breaking the seal-besides what use would the body have been to a stranger? None of these options is logical-and yet the tomb remains empty.

I have come to regard the resurrection as probably the best “Christian evidence” material in existence. Scholars who don’t believe in the Bible will concede that a man named Jesus walked the earth and was crucified. We have ancient historical writings that serve as evidence for these events. But how can one explain away the empty tomb? Again, who rolled away the stone? How was it that Saul-who would later become the apostle Paul-was so utterly convinced of the resurrection? Additionally, why would thousands of religious people change their day of worship from the Sabbath (Saturday-Exodus 20:8, Exodus 31:15-19) to the first day of the week (Sunday-Acts 6:7; 21:20). Finally, why would thousands of Jews be pricked in their hearts on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2) if it were merely a hoax?

Jesus conquered death. This exciting fact gives meaning to every aspect of our modern-day worship. We now have a mediator through which we can pray. It gives meaning to the Lord’s Supper that we observe on the first day of the week. The truth that Jesus came out of the grave gives Christians the hope that we too will one day spend eternity with Him! Study the resurrection, for it will certainly strengthen your faith.

Love,

Dad

Having looked in the tearful eyes of parents whose children have abandoned the Faith, I have learned there are a million miles between our children “going through the motions” in reference to the spiritual lives versus our children possessing hearts that dictate their actions. In this column, I plan to share with you what I hope to instill in the hearts of my children and those whom I love.
Every year thousands of Muslims make a pilgrimage to Mecca to the tomb of Muhammad. Likewise, followers of Confucianism visit the grave of Confucius in Qufu, Shandong Province of China. Similarly, the Temple of the Tooth or “Dalada Maligawa” is believed to house some of the cremated ashes of Buddha. Having been buried centuries ago, the physical bodies of these religious founders are slowly turning to dust as millions journey to pay honor and respect.
Christianity is unique in that we serve a risen Savior. There are no remains to which to pilgrimage. Our Savior Jesus Christ fully conquered death. For those skeptics who vehemently cling to naturalistic causes for everything, the bodily resurrection of Jesus seems ludicrous. They laugh at the very notion. Yet, what does the evidence prove?
Here’s what I intend on teaching my children about the resurrection.
Everything hinges on the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Paul wrote to the church in Corinth, “And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up-if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen your faith is futile; you are still in your sins” (1 Corinthians 15:14-17). Simply put, if Jesus could not make it out of the tomb, we don’t have any hope.
When you consider the resurrection, ask yourself first and foremost: Who moved the stone? Make no doubt about it, the individuals living at that time took ample measure to make sure the tomb was secure. The chief priests and Pharisees spoke to Pilate and said, “Sir we remember while He was still alive, how that deceiver said ‘After three days I will rise.’ Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day, lest His disciples come by night and steal Him away” (Matthew 27:63-64). We learn from Matthew’s account that the stone in front of the tomb was sealed and a guard was assigned to watch the tomb (27:65-66).
And yet, even with all of this preparation, the tomb was found empty. Logic tells us that if the Jews took the body, they would have paraded it all around town denouncing the notion that Jesus was indeed the Messiah. If they really knew where the body was, it would have surfaced not long after the crucifixion. Likewise, if the disciples took the body then they would have known for certain that the resurrection was a hoax. Not only did they preach about the bodily resurrection of Jesus, but many went to their deaths in proclaiming it. Who would go to his own death perpetuating a lie? A stranger off the street would not have taken it for fear of the guard and breaking the seal-besides what use would the body have been to a stranger? None of these options is logical-and yet the tomb remains empty.
I have come to regard the resurrection as probably the best “Christian evidence” material in existence. Scholars who don’t believe in the Bible will concede that a man named Jesus walked the earth and was crucified. We have ancient historical writings that serve as evidence for these events. But how can one explain away the empty tomb? Again, who rolled away the stone? How was it that Saul-who would later become the apostle Paul-was so utterly convinced of the resurrection? Additionally, why would thousands of religious people change their day of worship from the Sabbath (Saturday-Exodus 20:8, Exodus 31:15-19) to the first day of the week (Sunday-Acts 6:7; 21:20). Finally, why would thousands of Jews be pricked in their hearts on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2) if it were merely a hoax?
Jesus conquered death. This exciting fact gives meaning to every aspect of our modern-day worship. We now have a mediator through which we can pray. It gives meaning to the Lord’s Supper that we observe on the first day of the week. The truth that Jesus came out of the grave gives Christians the hope that we too will one day spend eternity with Him! Study the resurrection, for it will certainly strengthen your faith.
Love,
Dad
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The Love of God

The Love of God

Paul said, “Nay, in all things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.” (Rom. 8:37). He then catalogues things that cannot affect Christ’s love for us.

The Love of God abounds.

The Love of God abounds.

The love of God is unaffected by our conditions of life. (Rom. 8:38) A “thorn in the flesh” does not mean that Christ does not love us. It may best that we have problems so that we may not be “exhalted over much.” (2 Cor. 12:7) The grace of God can make perfect our weakness. (2 Cor. 12:9) Even in death Christ has not forsaken us. Death does not affect the soul for which Christ died. In death there is only a change of the condition of the soul from an earthly abode to a spiritual realm.

The love of Good is unaffected by the order of things. (Rom 8:38) “Neither . . . angels, nor principalities, nor the things present, nor things to come” will cause Christ to cease loving us. Trials may lead us nearer or away from Christ. Whatever may be our burdens and problems he still loves us.

The love of God is raised above the power of time.  Neither things “present, nor things to come” will affect the love God for us. His love is constant. Christ loved us even when we were sinners–that is the reason he died for us.

The love is God is present everywhere. “Neither height, nor depth . . . shall be able to separate us from the love of God.” God is and he cares. He is not like a helpless idol nor a sitting Buddha.

It would be wonderful if our love for Christ was as firm as his love for us. God loves us but he hates sin. Sin can separate us from God. It is idle talk to say we love God and do not what he says. “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” (1 Jn. 5:3)

Robert Notgrass

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Young Missionary

Young Missionary

He was a young missionary just beginning the work where he would serve the Lord for the next forty years. He had grown up in a small rural town and the “world” was the changing all around him. There was simply no way he could envision what lay ahead for him.

Dreaming of serving God.

Dreaming of serving God.

Now he sat in an amazing aircraft capable of navigating over thousands of miles and taking him back to the land filled with lost souls looking for Jesus. He thought first of the plane and then thought of something far greater. He penned these words which I have kept for many years.

Today I flew across this land,
In a powerful jet I made the span.

There I thought—how great the man
Who made this plane to rise and land.
To ride above the clouds so full
T’was a thrill for a man like me.

This machine in which I rode
Was a wonder to behold.
With wings so wide from side to side,
Through the air man made it glide.

And as I looked from windows high,
I saw the earth, the land, the sky.
Men like me had made this plane,
But who had made those clouds to rain?

Who had made the land so green?
The mighty river and the spring?
Who made the dust in that wind to blow?
Who made the mountains capped with snow?
The fish to swim in the creek below?
Who made the sky through which we fly?

No man could make these things to be;
No man or men like you and me.
There is no God , the fool has said;
And yet another, that God is dead.

But in that great Book from which I’ve read,
Is recorded what God has truly said.
How He made these things to be
And from the dust created me.

I wanted to share these words with you. The rhyme and the meter might not be the best, but there is no way to find fault with the heart and the soul of this young missionary and his dream to serve God. Thank you, Robert Martin.

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