By Michael Julian
Pastor, Macedonia Baptist Church, Kenton.
Emptiness. We seek to avoid this feeling with every fiber of our being. When you feel emotionally empty it’s as if all sentiment and feeling have gone south for the winter, and left you in the cold, harsh conditions of the Arctic. When your dreams keep turning up empty it’s as if someone has stolen the fire in your eyes and replaced it with smoky, gray ashes incapable of being ignited again. Many people trudge through life shrouded in emptiness. Listen to an ancient tomb in a garden near Golgotha speak volumes to us all.
We don’t normally invite people into our emptiness to look around and take notes. Most would rather keep the stone over the entrance, so as not to be exposed. However, I would like you to walk into mine. There is someone I want you to meet. He’s not here anymore, and His stay was brief, but He knows you and understands you. When He enters your life, everything changes. Just like me. I was never the same after Jesus of Nazareth came to me. I am still not the same.
You see, I was prepared to have someone come to me. I just wasn’t expecting Him. I was totally shocked when Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus brought Him and laid Him down. I thought this had to be a mistake. Man, was I ever wrong.
On the third day, there came an earthquake, then there came an angel, and my stone was rolled away, not to let Jesus out, but to let others in. Do you see? Jesus got up and took His facecloth and rolled it up neatly in a place by itself away from the linen wrappings. That was so people would know that no one stole Him away.
I mean, what thief would stop and think to do that? This was amazing. I get to relive it every day, and every day I feel the power of resurrection. Do you feel it every day? You should. I am serious. If you have faith in the One who arose and left me on that first Easter morning, and then ascended back to heaven 40 days later, the One you call Jesus Christ, then you have resurrection power living inside of you. Every single day!
Listen, my emptiness speaks for your benefit. It invites people to come and look, to come and see what’s missing. My emptiness brings hope. One look inside me, one wisp of the breath of God, and bam; life begins anew. Faith in the resurrected Jesus infuses light and hope and peace and joy and love. That emptiness is a thing of the past. Allow it to stay in this empty tomb.
Obviously, tombs cannot speak. But there is someone speaking to us all today through His eternal word and through the Holy Spirit. Let us not stuff ourselves full of the things of the world to hide the emptiness. Sometimes it’s not all the glitz of the world, instead sometimes it’s the good things.
We fill our lives with the kind of house we want, the kind of job we want, the kind of leisure life we want, the kind of family we want, the kind of vacations we want, simply the kind of life we want that will make us happy. Good things. But, did we address the emptiness first? Am I supposed to build the kind of life I want, or receive the kind of life He wants to give in surrender to Him? Jesus is doing the talking now. Are we listening? B&R