Each year after Easter Sunday, after the egg hunts and celebrations, after all the jelly beans have been eaten from them, I find myself faced with the same dilemma: where to put yet another dozen empty Easter eggs?!
I grab a bag, big enough to hold this year’s and years past eggs, fill it and stick it on a bottom shelf. Where it will most likely sit until next year. I’m not going to think about that bag of eggs. Until next Easter when, yet again, I need to put away more empty eggs.
During our worship this Easter Sunday we sang Passion’s Remember. The chorus goes…
Down in the valley, when waters rise
I’m still believing
Hope is alive
All through the struggle and darkest day
I’ll remember the empty grave
The empty grave. The one Jesus left when He rose from dead on that third day. The empty grave changed everything! Jesus was no longer dead! He was alive! He is alive!
Pastor Jeff Noble posed this question as part of his Easter Sunday message, “Do you live an ‘Easter life’ (like Jesus HAS been resurrected)?”
I don’t want the empty grave to be something I think about once a year, like those pesky empty Easter eggs. Instead, the empty grave should be on my mind all through the struggle.
In his message, Jeff talked about the Greek word tharseo which means take heart, take courage. It’s the word Jesus speaks to his disciples just before his arrest and crucifixion, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world (John 16:33 ESV).”
See Jesus told his disciples that they would face tribulation. They would struggle. But three days after His death on the cross, Jesus would leave the tomb empty. He would appear to His disciples and say, “Peace be with you (John 20:19)!”
He is our peace. His death and resurrection mean that we can tharseo. We can take heart. We can take courage. And not just for one day, but for 365, 24/7!
Doesn’t it just make you want to sing!
Hallelujah, death is done
All of hell is overcome
Jesus, You are alive
Gracious Heavenly Father,
Thank You for Jesus. Thank You that your love for us is so great that you would send Your one and only Son to take our place and die for our sin. We celebrate that He is risen. He is alive! Father, help us to “tharseo,” to take heart. Help us to remember the empty grave each and every day, all through the struggles.