"Because The Tomb Was Empty"

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Today is a day of sharing. I have two awesome and inspiring things to share with you...

First, an excerpt from a Girlfriends in God newsletter I received almost a year ago that has never really left my mind:

"It was Easter Sunday. Mrs. Stephens wanted to help her students understand that there is so much more to the Easter holiday than new clothes, chocolate bunnies and egg hunts... Easter is about life. Easter celebrates the certainty of Jesus’ death on the cross, the fact that He was buried, and the reality that He came out of that burial tomb to conquer death – so that we can have life - eternal life with Jesus in Heaven and abundant life with Him here and now. 

Mrs. Stephens came up with a plan. After sharing the Bible story of Jesus’ resurrection, she gave each one of her students an empty plastic egg and said, “We are going to take a walk outside and I want each one of you to find one sign of life and put it in your plastic egg.” 

As the children filed out of the room, Mrs. Stephens noticed Danny, a little Down syndrome boy who had been coming to her class for some time. His bright smile and sunny disposition had immediately won her heart. In fact, when it came to Danny, she often thought he had taught her so much more about the unconditional love of God and the joy of simply being a child of God than she could ever teach him. When she heard the other children make fun of him, it broke her heart. She always corrected the children and tried to help them see just how special Danny was, but Danny seemed oblivious to their hurtful words and thought of each child as his “buddy.”

The children soon returned from their walk, depositing their eggs on the teacher’s desk as they made their way to their seats. Inside one student's egg was a butterfly. In another was an ant. Others had collected flowers, twigs, blades of grass and leaves to fill their eggs. But one egg had nothing in it. Everyone knew whose egg it was. Mrs. Stephens silenced the giggles with a look of warning. When she asked Danny why he had not put anything inside his egg to show signs of life, his face broke into a huge grin as he responded, "Because the tomb was empty.""

Every time I read that story, I find myself being touched in a really significant way. It's hard for me to read out loud without taking a moment here and there to collect myself. Why? It is not out of sadness. It is out of pure joy. I delight in the beauty of a story of a little boy who truly understood the depth of Easter -- that an empty tomb is the perfect sign of life; the perfect proof that Jesus Christ really had risen from the dead!

As you enter into Easter weekend, perhaps you'll be spending time with family. Perhaps you'll be attending church services tonight or on Sunday or perhaps both. Perhaps you have Easter Egg hunts for children and relatives. Perhaps you plan to have a relaxing weekend at home. In private, in groups; in the background or as a main event; try to find some time thanking God for the sign of life -- for the empty tomb -- and for the day that Jesus Christ laid death in its grave, forever beating death for our sake, so that we may live forever with our God.

My second moment of sharing:
If you've made it this far and are still reading, perhaps you're like Danny. Perhaps you are taking in the depth and significance of Easter weekend. Take a moment to listen to the following video and read the lyrics below. John Mark McMillan describes the miraculous events that changed the world forever... and Jesus' transformation from a worldly condemned "thief" on Friday to a heavenly and promising King on Sunday. 

Take a moment to listen. Close your eyes and let it sink in. Our God came down and walked among us... he was condemned as a thief. Crucified in grief. For three days, he slept in the darkness of death... until he arose and paid for our sins in full.

Though the Earth Cried out for blood
Satisfied her hunger was
Her billows calmed on raging seas
for the souls on men she craved

Sun and moon from balcony

Turned their head in disbelief
Their precious Love would taste the sting
disfigured and disdained

On Friday a thief

On Sunday a King
Laid down in grief
But awoke with keys
Of Hell on that day
The first born of the slain
The Man Jesus Christ
Laid death in his grave

So three days in darkness slept

The Morning Sun of righteousness
But rose to shame the throes of death
And over turn his rule

Now daughters and the sons of men

Would pay not their dues again

The debt of blood they owed was rent
When the day rolled a new

On Friday a thief

On Sunday a King
Laid down in grief
But awoke holding keys
To Hell on that day
The first born of the slain
The Man Jesus Christ
Laid death in his grave

He has cheated

Hell and seated
Us above the fall
In desperate places
He paid our wages
One time once and for all

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