I love Easter. I love the celebratory music we sing at church, I love the passages of Scripture we read during worship, and most of all, I love the visual image of the empty tomb.
If you want to hear my extended thoughts on the most important Sunday of the year, you can listen to my three sermons on Easter. But for today, I’m simply going to write about three fundamental character qualities that the empty tomb reveals about God.
First: God is faithful. Immediately after Adam and Eve had fallen, God vowed to crush evil once and for all. He made a plan to send his Son to earth to defeat sin and death by his crucifixion and resurrection.
For thousands of years, God neither forgot nor turned from his promise. He didn't grow weary, nor would he be distracted. Even though Israel continually turned from God, God didn't turn from Israel. The Lord made a promise, and when the Lord makes a promise, it will always be fulfilled.
Second: God is powerful. He's powerful in authority and he's powerful in strength. Think of the authority you would have to have to control all the situations, locations, and relationships in order to guarantee that Jesus would come at the precise moment and do what he was appointed to do!
Also, could there be a more pointed demonstration of power than to have power over death? By God’s awesome power, Jesus took off his grave clothes and walked out of that tomb. Those guys in power-lifting competitions may be able to pull a bus with their teeth, but they'll all die, and there's nothing they can do about it.
Finally: God is willing. Why would he go to such an extent to help us? Why would he care to notice us, let alone rescue us? Why would he ever sacrifice his own Son? Because he is willing.
You and I need to recognize that God's willingness was motivated not by what he saw in us, but by what is inside of him. He's willing because he's the definition of mercy. He's willing because he's the source of love. He's willing because he's full of amazing grace. He's willing because he's good, gentle, patient, and kind.
Even when we're unwilling, full of ourselves, and wanting our own way, he's still willing. He delights in transforming us by his grace. He delights in rescuing us by his powerful love.
Faithful. Powerful. Willing. These are beautiful and riveting truths, but let's have moment of honesty. It's going to be very easy, come Sunday, to celebrate these truths. But what happens on the other 364 days of the year, when Easter isn't celebrated?
When you're sinned against, or when the fallen world breaks your door down, or when the things that God calls sinful start to look powerfully attractive and appealing - will you celebrate Easter? Will you stand in resurrection strength?
Don’t lash out. Don't run away. Don't surrender. Stand in your weakness and confusion and say, “I am not alone. God is with me, and he is faithful, powerful, and willing.” Don't let Easter just shape this Sunday; let Easter shape every day of your life.
Paul David Tripp
- In what ways have you been unfaithful to God this week? How has he been faithful despite you?
- In what ways have you expressed weakness this week? How has God revealed his power?
- In what ways were you unwilling this week? How has God willingly loved you?
- Why are we so quick to forget the beautiful truths of Easter in everyday life?
- What difficulties are you experiencing today for which you need resurrection strength?