Empty!
Luke 24:1-12

Don’t you just hate that feeling when you’re sure you’ve left something in a particular place and its just not there anymore?!?

A few years back I was shopping in Adelaide and came back to the car ready to put a trolley load of groceries in the trailer so that we could go on holidays.  I stopped and looked in disbelief, I could have sworn there was a trailer connected to the back of the car when I went shopping.  Don’t you love the way you doubt yourself when something like that happens, you wonder if it is your mind playing tricks on you, you have to go back in your mind and replay step by step everything that led up to this point just to make sure. 

I was certain that day, because the padlock that used to be on the tow hitch of the trailer was lying on the ground behind the car where the trailer had been.  There was some evidence left behind that assured me that I was indeed in the right place and the trailer had been attached.

When Mary and her friends came to the place where Jesus had been laid to rest they were expecting the stone across the front of the tomb to be in place.  Their first sign that things were amiss was that the stone had been rolled away.  Then when they went inside they didn’t find a body.  They too were confused, they would have been certain they were in the right place, like you and I would have, they were probably starting to doubt themselves.

But then two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them and they were terrified.  Were these men grave robbers or angels?  Where did they come from, would they kidnap them?  Who knows what the women were thinking, what we do know is they were terrified.

They are told that Jesus has risen from the dead.  “Remember how he told you while he was still in Galilee, that the son of man must be handed over to sinner and be crucified and on the third day rise again?

It was only then that they remembered what Jesus had told them.  Up until that point they must have been terribly confused and scared.  But if Jesus was alive, where had he gone?  What would you do in a circumstance like this?  Would you keep it all a secret or would you run off and tell someone else.  Actually, these days we would probably whip out the iPhone and get photographic evidence and post it on facebook for all of our friends to see.

I know the first thing I did when I realised my trailer was gone was to call Terri in disbelief, then the Police.  But Mary Magdalene and her friends hurried off and told the eleven and the rest all that they had seen, but most of the people there thought they were crazy and ignored them.

Can you imagine what people would do if you came into a gathering like this one and started sprouting off about one of your friends having risen from the dead and the only evidence you have is an empty grave and the word of some dudes with dazzling clothes.  They’d be calling for a straight-jacket immediately or ask you what sort of drugs you’d been taking.

But good old Peter jumped up and ran off to the tomb to check it out for himself, he went in and saw the linen clothes laying by themselves and he went home amazed.

So where do we stand on this whole resurrection thing, are we with those who heard but thought their leg was being pulled, or are we like Peter and have all the evidence we need to believe that indeed the Son of Man has risen from the dead as he said he would?

We’ve all seen through the accounts in Scripture that Jesus entered into Jerusalem as a humble king, was arrested, tried and hung on a cross until he was dead, was laid in a borrowed tomb, the stone rolled into place.  Then on the third day we come across the events we’ve just heard.  They have been written down for us, so that we too might see and believe.

Yes it is hard to understand how it could possibly happen, there are many mysteries that we don’t understand fully, but really that’s what makes it faith.  We believe that the whole Bible is the divinely inspired word of God, written down for our benefit so that we too might believe all that took place and come to faith through the power of the Holy Spirit working in us through the Word.

For us as we come to worship today, we know that HE IS RISEN, he is risen indeed.  For our sake he was crucified, and on the third day rose again, in accordance with the scriptures, he has won the victory over death for our sake and for all who believe because he has given them the power to become the children of God.  What a wonderful and marvellous gift that is.  Hard to fathom at times, difficult to comprehend how an almighty and all powerful God would humble himself and become a human and suffer and die to make us righteous, but wonderful and marvellous none-the-less.

Rejoice with us today as with Mary Magdalene and her friends we proclaim the Lord’s death and resurrection until he comes again to take us to be with him.  Rejoice that the grave is empty, that he is risen.  He is risen indeed, for you.

Amen