Although we celebrated the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ this past Sunday, today I want to revisit the tomb where Jesus’ followers expected to find His body.
While visualizing this scene in my mind, I focus my attention upon the open entrance to the tomb where Jesus had been buried. Not only was the stone rolled away from the opening, but the body of Jesus was no longer inside the tomb. The power of God would not have been hindered from raising Jesus back to life by a stone. However, a sealed tomb could have been a stumbling block for His followers and me.
I have always been intrigued by the statement that the stone was rolled away to let others in rather than to let Jesus out. Without visual proof, I would have been blinded from seeing that the tomb was no longer occupied by the body of Jesus. The rolled away stone was proof to Jesus’ followers and to me that He had risen from the grave. Jesus did not need an open door to get out but His followers needed to enter through this open door to experience the empty grave. Not only did the disciples discover that Jesus’ body was no longer there, but they also saw His grave cloths folded and left in the tomb.
My imaginary journey now takes me from the entrance of the tomb to the entrance of my heart. Just as the tomb was the enclosure for Jesus’ body, my heart is the enclosure of my life. Physically, my heart pumps blood throughout my body so that I can live. Spiritually, my heart is the center of my being where my spirit dwells and where Jesus lives.
When difficulties occur in my life, I can allow my heart to become hardened to things of the Spirit. Consequently, I like the promise of scripture that God will remove my heart of stone so that His Spirit can live within me. Does the stoniness of my heart need to be removed to let me out or to let Jesus in? I am concerned if I look upon this stone removal as only an opportunity for me to be let out, I will become self-centered. I prefer that the hardness of my heart be removed to allow Jesus to live within me. I want out so Jesus can come in! We learn from Paul in Ephesians 3:17 that “Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” We often hear the phrase “I asked Jesus into my heart” articulated to describe what happens at the time of salvation. With this in mind, we can be assured of what scripture says in Colossians 1:27, “Christ lives in you.” It is not about me, it is about the Lord!
I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live,
but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh
I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”
As I near the end of my imaginary journey, I want to reiterate the comparisons I have made.
Last week we observed and celebrated the death and resurrection of Jesus. Today, in a sense, I have shared how a person is crucified with Christ whenever one chooses to put to death the desires of the flesh.
Last Sunday at church we most likely heard the scriptural account about the stone rolled away from the enclosure where Jesus body had been buried. Today, I have pointed out that a stone may need to be rolled away from the enclosure of a human heart, the center of life.
Jesus arose from the grave and through scripture we have been allowed to hear first hand accounts of those who entered the empty tomb. Today, we have the option of having our lives emptied of ourselves so Jesus can come into our hearts. Jesus is able to reside in our hearts because He is no longer in the tomb. Because we believe in the resurrected Christ and the empty tomb, Jesus lives in us. The rolled away stone made it possible for anyone on the outside to go into the empty tomb. Today, the removal of the hardened stoniness of our hearts allows Jesus to come into our empty lives.
In the burial garden, it was Jesus out and us in! Today in our hearts, it is us out and Jesus in!
Song for the Week: My Reader, would you like to join me in singing the chorus of the hymn He Lives, I Serve a Risen Savior, by Alfred Ackley today? I find myself singing this song today and it seems appropriate for the message of this blog.
He lives, He lives,
Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and talks with me
Along life’s narrow way.
He lives, He lives,
Salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives?
He lives within my heart.