He Is Risen: Looking for Christ
A sepulcher is a small room cut in stone where the dead were buried. A sepulcher was the last place to seek a risen Christ. Just as there were then, there are people today who engage in a vain search for Christ.
Looking for Christ in Liturgy
To approach the Lord in the trappings of mere ceremonialism is an example of such futility, for the Savior stated that worship must contain the elements of spirit and truth. So, we can practice liturgy and do all the “right” Christian things in the name of ceremony.
Looking for Christ in Emotions
A contrasting but equally frustrated approach to the Holy One is that of superficiality and emotionalism. In other words: this is when we rely on our feelings to determine where God is or what we should believe. We often say, “I feel God,” when we sense the Lord’s presence. But if emotions are all we rely on, something critical is missing in our relationship.
This religious phenomenon of zeal without knowledge is nothing new. The Apostle Paul cited it in his day, and it is as crippling now as it was at that time.
Looking for Christ in Works
While each of these paths leads to the end of the road, no would-be road to Christ is as dead-ended as the path of works righteousness. Yes, good works are the necessary result of salvation, but they are in no way the cause of salvation. Isn’t it true that we pick up the characteristics of the people with whom we spend the most time? So it is with Christ. The more time we spend with him, the more we will reflect him in our lives. That’s what I mean when I say that works are a result of salvation; they aren’t the way we become saved.
Christianity, however, begins where religiosity ends . . . with the resurrection. Seventeenth-century French mathematician and theologian, Blaise Pascal, posed a helpful question about finding Christ in his book, Pensées:
What reason have atheists for saying that we cannot rise again? Which is more difficult, to be born, or to rise again? That what has never been, should be, or that what has been, should be again? Is it more difficult to come into being than to return to it?
One might say that the gospels explain the resurrection. It can be better said, though, that the resurrection explains the gospels. When Christ rose from the grave, it was God’s declaration that Jesus of Nazareth is the Savior.
What a wonderful “missing person’s report” the two Marys received that morning! What a horror if Christ had been found in that tomb, for the Apostle Paul also wrote, “If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; you are yet in your sins” (1 Cor. 5:17).
Come, then, by faith to see the place where the Lord lay. Consider what it had been like to be Christ’s follower on the day of his crucifixion and burial. The sepulcher is a place of deep feeling and intense sorrow. Yet, it also holds great joy and gladness. It is a shrine of greatness because it contained the conqueror of death and the grave.
Weep at our sin that laid him there, and yet know that those who die in faith and are entombed have good company: in a grave slept Emmanuel! know that you won’t be there long—a grave is where Christ was, not where he is!
Let us celebrate the triumph over death. The angel rolled back the stone from the entrance of Christ’s tomb—the house of death is doorless and “the gates of Hell shall not prevail against the church” (Matt. 16:17-19).