Theme: The Empty Tomb – The Greatest Miracle Ever
Ministering: Dr. Biodun Sotunmbi
It is not possible to talk meaningfully about the Empty Tomb without referring to the miraculous conception, both of which represent the inexplicable power of God. He alone knows what is unknowable, Rom. 11:33 and does what is undoable, Job 12:13-25. When Isaiah prophesied:
Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold the virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel,
The Israelites of his day must have wondered how that would happen, as virgins were not known to conceive naturally, then, and even now. And when, hundreds of years after, angel Gabriel announced the news to the Virgin Mary, she was puzzled. How could that be since she had not related to any man? Lk. 1:34. But this child was not going to be the product of man-woman relationship but of God, vs 35-37, Mk. 1:1.
When He came into the world Jesus treated His earthly parents well but, even as a young boy, He made it clear to them that His real Father was in heaven, Lk. 2:41-50. He was not being rude, He simply told them the truth. They were be wildered. When He made a similar declaration, much later, in the course of His ministry, the Jewish leaders, in envy or ignorance, treated him as an upstart or a demon, John 8:47-48, John 5:16-17.
In his opening statement concerning the purpose of His mission on earth He recalled Isaiah’s prophesy concerning him:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and the recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised. To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,
Isaiah 61:1&2, Lk. 4:18-19
During His ministry He did not just preach and teach, He delivered and saved. He restored hope to the hopeless, Mk. 5:46-52, Lk. 7:11-15 and, on many occasions, made satan look foolish Lk 13:10-17, Mk 5:1-15. In one instance He fed more than 5000 people with delicious meals, Matt 14:15-21 while, in less than 4 years of His ministry He raised and nurtured about 100 disciples, “little christs”, who, after His death, “turned the world upside down”, Acts 17:4-6
So it was not just His conception and birth that engendered the miraculous His ministerial activities in Palestine confirmed His claim as son of God, John 14:11&12. But the Jewish leaders of His day saw Him as a rival, a threat to their status and an enemy they must bring down so that they and they alone would continue to falsely be the face of God, who had long departed from them, John 8:39-42.
They raised false allegations against Him with the sole aim of getting Him convicted, by all means. That Pilate, the Governor, who presided over His trial said He was innocent of the charges against him, did not impress them. They wanted him crucified, a particularly painful form of death meant for criminals, Matt. 27:11-25,
Must Jesus die for the sins He never committed? Yes, indeed, because it was only the blood of the innocent that was acceptable to God for the atonement of the sin of Adam and his descendants, Rom. 3:23-25, Rom. 5:10-11. Otherwise man would have been forever condemned, without any hope of redemption and reconciliation with the Father, John 3:17. Yet the deception and mindless cruelty of the Jewish elite is in excusable.
So Jesus was crucified. He died and was buried in a tomb. As far as His enemies were concerned that was his end. And since they had heard that He predicted His resurrection three days after death, Mk. 10:32-34, John 2:18-19, they tried to forestall that by posting soldiers to His tomb, Matt. 27:62-66.
In ignorance they attempted to treat the Immortal as a mortal. They failed miserably. The Father, who sent His son on the mission of deliverance and salvation, never abandoned His own. The angelic presence around the tomb, now empty, testified to that. Christ had risen. Satan and his agents had been shamed, Matt. 28:1-6.
The resurrection of Christ was a miracle of enormous dimensions. First, it was the first and the last time ever that any person would fortell his own death and resurrection and the prediction would come true. Secondly, the earth which normally receives the dead, overtime converting it to “manure”, reacted violently, in the form of an extensive earthquake, saying perharps “this particular person is my creator-you cannot subject Him to the kind of indignity reserved for mortals”, Matt. 28:2; John 1:1-3
The quake resulted in the opening up of the graves of the saints, who, following the resurrection of Christ, were also raised and were seen by many people in Jerusalem, Matt. 27:52-53, I Cor. 15:4-8.
Even though Jesus has since returned to the Father, His name and blood still perform wonders, Acts 3:1-8, Phil. 2:9-11, I Pet. 2:24. So, the empty tomb is indeed empty, a miracle of enormous proportions, a confirmation that the dead in Christ even in our time, would also rise from the dead, John 14:1-3.