Empty rooms can sometimes tell a pretty full story.
For instance, if you come downstairs into your empty kitchen and find chocolate sauce smeared over everything and a trail of chocolatey footprints leading into a closet, you can probably surmise what happened:
Your four-year-old went wild while you were busy upstairs and is now in hiding.
Or if you come home to an empty living room only to discover the sofa’s cushions have been chewed to bits and there is stuffing all over the place, the room itself tells you all you need to know: that your naughty dog shouldn’t be left alone so long.
Perhaps you arrive back from vacation and each empty room shows evidence of having been ransacked. A window was broken, drawers have been pulled open, and valuable items are missing. Police detectives find additional clues in the house that help them figure out the identity of the burglar.
Investigators (and parents) are masters at being able to figure out what story an empty room tells.
I wonder if we can use our detective skills to determine what the empty tomb of Jesus conveys?
First off, when His followers arrived at the tomb on that first Easter morning, they found that the stone sealing its entrance had been rolled away easily. As police might say, there was no sign of forced entry.
The Roman soldiers guarding the tomb had been given strict instructions not to open it up, so clearly they had had no hand in rolling away the stone. Whoever had done so must have had supernatural strength and been able to handily overpower the guards.
Inside, the grave clothes provided additional clues. The cloth that had been around Jesus’ head had been rolled up and placed separately from the rest of the linens. This implies that His body hadn’t been hauled out hastily by grave robbers.
Rather, whoever did this hadn’t been in a panic. They had the confidence to take some time and roll up the head wrapping. This speaks of someone who is in control of the situation.
A stone rolled away supernaturally, soldiers who couldn’t put up a fight, graves clothes calmly rolled up…a story is beginning to emerge of something miraculous having happened.
The absence of Jesus’ body in the tomb gives us the biggest clue of all.
It confirms that what Jesus Himself predicted would happen, had indeed happened: that He would be crucified but rise again after three days. The angels at the tomb affirmed that this was the case:
“He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying.” (Matthew 28:6)
Jesus had conquered death!
The empty tomb of Jesus tells an amazing story.
It tells a story of prophecies fulfilled, of triumphant resurrection, and of death vanquished.
It tells the story that what Jesus said about Himself was true.
It tells the story that because of His atoning sacrifice on the Cross, your sins can be forgiven. It tells us that because of Jesus’ resurrection, we can be welcomed into Heaven to spend eternity with God after we die.
All the best stories have a happy ending.
And the story that Jesus’ empty tomb tells has the happiest ending of all!
© 2022 Lori J. Cartmell. All rights reserved.