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Tombs

TOMBS…are rightfully associated with the dead. Images vary, depending on your geographical location. Graves can be considered a tomb, and so can an urn. They may be underground or above, in a rock formation or in a graveyard. They are typically not the first thing one thinks of when planning a family vacation. But they are intriguing. The living peering at a vault where the deceased are buried, seeing what is in store for you sometime in the near or distant future is not my idea of a vacation tour. Tombs are so final. Nothing is moving. All is over! Or is it?

 

Joanne and I will be buried at Sparkman Hillcrest. We have already purchased everything except the coffins. Pine box works for me! I might add that we will be positioned near Tom Landry on one side and across the street from NorthPark Mall. How can you beat that? Some of you might still be around to attend the services and even the burial. We’ll be watching!

 

But there is one tomb that is different, and it is one of the most visited gravesites in the world. Joanne and I had the privilege of traveling to Israel with Jim Denison a few years ago. One of the very special stops on the pilgrimage was the tomb (at least thought to be) of Jesus, the Messiah. We were allowed to enter the carved out tomb and experience the truth set out in the gospels and prophesied in parts of the Old Testament.

Why is this one so special? Because it is empty!

The other tombs that occupy the top ten list of most visited contain the remains of celebrities. According to toptenz.net, Michael Jackson holds number one, just ahead of Shakespeare and Elvis. While the lives of each of these had a significant impact on some area of the world, and are still revered by many, their graves are occupied. Not so with the Lord’s! If you don’t believe me, go look for yourself. That’s what Peter and John did. It was not enough for the women to tell them of this incredible miracle, they had to run and see for themselves. Voila!! Only the grave clothes remained, all neatly folded and lying on the bench. Can you even imagine their joy mixed with fear and confusion?

 

Normally when family and friends leave the gravesite, and after the attendants complete the burial, the site is left alone. But the intriguing part of Christ’s was that Pilate posted guards to keep watch so no one would come and steal His body. Ain’t that just like Satan and the world, trying to keep Jesus in a box-don’t let Him out! Hard as you try, it’s not going to happen. Jesus said of Himself; “I am the resurrection and the life” (Jn. 11:25a). He was speaking to Martha at their home after He had raised their brother Lazarus from the dead. This was shocking and very misunderstood, even revolutionary. “He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.” Do you believe this? (vss. 25b,26)

 

I ask you the same question. How important is the answer? You ask; “is it not enough to believe that Jesus is the Son of God and He died for my sins?” The answer is a resounding NO! Why, you ask? Because His death merely leaves Him in the grave, and if He’s still there, guess what, so are you. That’s half a gospel. In fact it is not a gospel at all, because gospel means good news. And if He is still buried, that ain’t good news! Then our hope is hopeless. We live, we die, we decay! A lousy scenario!

 

But the truth is, He was raised by His Father and then was seen and experienced by His closest earthly friends and hundreds of others. The apostles were so convinced; they dedicated the remainder of their lives to telling others and eventually dying for their conviction about the resurrection. They weren’t martyred because of His crucifixion; plenty of people witnessed that. It was the resurrection part that Satan and the world were guarding against, and the world could not handle.

 

“So, Bill, what is the complete gospel I must believe to receive eternal life with God?”

 

Well, let’s go to the 15th Chapter of 1 Corinthians for that answer. Paul sets it out clearly. And he got it straight from the Spirit of God. “Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, and in which you stand, by which also you are saved…for I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures…and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.” (vss. 1-5) The Scriptures are the Old Testament prophecies concerning the Messiah’s death and resurrection.

 

Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead. No more, no less! Now that’sgood news! And we can exclaim with full assurance–

He Is Risen, Risen Indeed!

Well Paul, since you made it so plain and God made it so simple, I believe! What a Happy Easter it is! A time to rejoice and share this good news.

 

Copyright 2015

Bill C. Dotson

www.lifespeakstous.com

bill@abidingfathers.org

Scripture taken from the New King James Version

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