Running On Empty: What the Empty Tomb Means To An Empty Life

Empty wallet? Empty relationships? Empty life?

It may be hard to see how a Jewish Rabbi who died nearly 2,000 years ago could have anything to offer your emptiness and brokenness today.

But that’s until you consider that this man didn’t stay in the tomb. Jesus was a Jewish Rabbi, but he was (and is) so much more!

On Easter Sunday, we began a three week message series entitled Running On Empty.

You can listen to and share the messages below:

1. Hopeless (John 20:1-18)

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Sermon Summary

Before encountering the resurrected Jesus, the empty tomb was bad news for Mary. She couldn’t see how the empty tomb might be good news. In her grief, she didn’t even recognize the resurrected Jesus until He spoke her name.

Sometimes it’s hard for us to see Jesus in the midst of our troubling circumstances. What makes the difference is when we can see the resurrected Jesus at work in and through our life circumstances to receive glory and to work all for our good.

We are not without hope because Jesus, who suffered far greater than we ever will, understands our need and promises to be with us. Even more, He has promised that these circumstances are temporary and that we are not alone!

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2. Faithless (John 20:19-31)

Join us April 23rd at City Life Church for the next message in this series.

3. Aimless (John 21:1-25)

Join us April 30th at City Life Church for the next message in this series.

Please contact us if you have questions about this series or about what it means to have a relationship with Jesus.

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Raised (Mark 16:1-8)

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Sermon Summary

1. We deserve pity if Jesus is still dead

a. A Dead Jesus is worth admiring

When the women came to the tomb on Easter Sunday, their only hope was to gain access so that they could anoint a dead Jesus. Even though Jesus had prophesied that He would rise on the third day, they didn’t have faith that He might be alive.

Dead Mohammed, Dead Buddha, Dead Confucius, Dead Socrates and Dead Jesus are all people we might learn from (for good or bad). They all taught and led movements and gathered devoted followers. Their teaching has endured. They all tried to do good things. They helped others in need. But they are all dead. We can only read about them. We can be inspired by their teachings. We can even practice what they preached. But they are all dead.

b. Dead Jesus must ultimately be abandoned.

Eventually, these women would’ve had to go on with their lives. They probably would’ve continued with Jewish observances and ultimately forgotten about Jesus.

A dead Jesus would be similar to other dead religious leaders but He would be different in one respect: His claims were different than theirs. For example, Jesus claimed to be God’s Son. He also claimed that He would lay down His life to show His love and that He would rise on the third day.

If Jesus is still dead, then those claims were nonsense at best and delusional at worst.

1 Corinthians 15:17 says, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.

2. Good News: Jesus isn’t dead!

When the women got to the tomb they discovered that the stone had been rolled away. God had already provided without them needing to lift a finger. They wouldn’t have been able to roll the stone away and they weren’t even aware that it had been sealed and a guard had been assigned to watch the tomb. All they knew is that when they arrived the tomb was open.

Even better, they found that it was empty and the messenger told them that Jesus wasn’t there, He has been resurrected! They only wanted Dead Jesus and all of their effort never would’ve even gotten them past the stone, much less the seal and the guard, but God not only removed the obstacle but they discovered that Jesus was not dead, He was alive!

In verses 6-7 the messenger delivers the gospel and the great commission all rolled into one. He tells them a) don’t be alarmed b) Jesus is alive c) the proof is this empty tomb) and go, tell His disciples (including Peter) to meet Jesus in Galilee e) just as He said.

We, too, benefit from this Good News. Jesus is alive and we are to go and tell others that Jesus offers forgiveness because His death and resurrection accomplished that for us.

Rather than pursue a Dead Mohammed or a Dead Abraham or even a Dead Jesus, we have joy in the realization that Jesus is truly alive and He has demonstrated His love for us in such a meaningful way.