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FAITH: The cross, the grave and the empty tomb

Easter is one of the highlights of the year for Christians

Submitted by Tom Kline, Castlegar Baptist Church

“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:3-6)

As a Baptist, I am less tied to the liturgical calendar than other denominations. Baptists tend to be rather loose in observations of lent or the season of advent and other such annual observances. However, it would be impossible as a Christian not to love and want to celebrate Easter and Christmas.

Easter is the celebration of Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead. Obviously, His resurrection was preceded by His death on the cross, three days earlier.

The bleakness of the cross

“Then delivered he Him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away. And He bearing His cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst.” (John 19:16-18)

What is the message of the cross? It is the message of salvation.

“Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures.” (I Corinthians 15:3)

There is no salvation apart from Jesus Christ. He died for sinners. He died for you and me. Jesus became our substitute, bearing the weight of God’s righteous judgement and paying the ultimate price on the cross.

The blackness of the grave

“Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid. There laid they Jesus.” (John 19:41-42)

The grave reminds us of the frailty of life and the certainty of death. All of us will come to this place. The grave seems to be final. No one returns once they have died and are buried. Yet, the story doesn’t end here.

The blessedness of the empty tomb

“And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for He is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.” (Matthew 28:5-6)

The empty tomb is what Easter is all about. The empty tomb means we have a living Saviour. The empty tomb means we have a truthful Saviour. The empty tomb means we have the hope of eternal life.

“And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” (John 10:28)

The Son of God who arose from the dead is the one who said this. He is our hope of life everlasting in heaven. Is He your Saviour? Do you have this hope? If so, I am sure you’ll want to join me and millions of others as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ this Easter.

Tom Kline is the pastor of Castlegar Baptist Church.

READ MORE: FAITH: No bragging in Heaven