JOHN 16:22-24: “Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you. “And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” NKJV
OBSERVATION: What do you think about when you think of Easter morning? Do you have a vision of the angels standing before the tomb proclaiming – “He is not here, His is risen as He said.” Or, do you picture yourself as one of the disciples who ran into the tomb to find his grave-clothes, lying empty upon the rock where he was laid?
Easter morning is the greatest celebration in the Christian faith. It is the foundation of our faith. Christianity is not a religion or a philosophy that is based upon the teachings of a mere man. Jesus claimed to be God in human flesh. He foretold of His death for the sins of mankind. And, He promised that He would rise again from the dead. Easter morning is the vindication of all these promises. It is God’s proclamation in history to all!
For many, Easter morning reminds them of the promise of eternal life. When Jesus spoke to Martha, as He came to raise Lazarus from the dead, He said,
- “…I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26 NKJV
The hope of the resurrection, the hope of eternal life, is the promise of the empty tomb. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16 NKJV).
Yet, Easter is so much more!
THE EMPTY TOMB IS ALSO AN – OPEN DOOR!
Before Jesus’ death and resurrection, we were all separated from God through our sin. Man always had to go through an intermediary to speak to God. In the Old Testament this was the prophet, and then the priest. One could not approach God without a sacrifice. The only one who could approach God on our behalf was the priest. And, the only one who could enter the Holy of Holies was the High Priest, once a year, on the Day of Atonement.
The doorway to God the Father was closed. When Jesus walked the earth, He was manifesting the Father to His disciples. When Jesus began telling them about His return to the Father, their hearts were filled with sorrow. For the first time in their life they were encountering the presence of the Father. Now this would end. The thought of Jesus not being present with them left them without hope.
Yet, hope is often dependent upon our perspective. The disciples were focused on Jesus’ words speaking about His departure from them. Jesus was focused on the blessing that would come from His return to the Father.
- “Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you. “And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” John 16:22-24
THE EMPTY TOMB – IS AN OPEN DOOR!
Jesus assured His disciples, and He assures us, that eternal life is not the only reason for the cross and the empty tomb. Jesus’ death and resurrection, His ascension into heaven, was to open the door for man to once again be united in fellowship with the Father. Man would no longer have to go through an intermediary. There would be no more sacrifices. The veil of the Temple was rent in two. The doorway to the Holy of Holies was opened to all who embrace Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.
Jesus made an amazing statement. He said – “And in that day your will ask Me nothing.” What did He mean? Jesus’ purpose, His life, and His ministry was to reveal the Father. It was to restore our relationship with the Father. It was to bring us back to the place that Adam forfeited in the garden – when man and God spoke in the cool of the day. Now, in Jesus Name, through His final sacrifice and victorious resurrection, we can come to the Father. What a joy! What a privilege! Jesus says,
- “In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you; for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God.” John 16:26-27 NKJV
Through the open door of the empty tomb we can boldly approach God’s throne in the name of Jesus. Jesus does not want us to ask Him to ask the Father on our behalf. Jesus wants us to come directly to the Father in His Name! Why? Because the Father Himself loves us and is waiting for us to come to Him. This is why He sent His only begotten Son. The Father desires to have intimate fellowship with all His sons and daughters in Christ!
THE EMPTY TOMB…IS AN OPEN DOOR!
It is an open door to answered prayer! Is is an open door to joy! It is an open door to peace! It is an open door to grace! It is an open door to find mercy and help in our time of need! The empty tomb is not simply a promise of eternal life to come. It is the promise of an abundant life today and every day of our life.
Lord, on this Easter Morning, I thank you for the Open Door of the Empty Tomb! Jesus, thank you for your sacrifice and victorious resurrection. Father, this morning, in Jesus Name, I come to You. I come to give You praise. I come to enter into Your presence. I come to be filled with Your joy! I come to ask You to fulfill Your will in my life, and in the life of those that I love! I come to You in Jesus Name!
- “Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”
In Jesus Name!