Have you ever sought out one thing in life, thinking it would bring you comfort, only to find that you actually were looking for something else?
I do this often.
It can be something as simple as thinking that going for a walk will help me clear my head, only to realize that it wasn’t the exercise I needed. I needed to be out in nature! Often, I find myself sitting on my “walks,” staring at a tree or some squirrels climbing trees in our neighborhood instead of getting some steps in! Truth be told, I also find myself doing this in other ways that are less helpful. I look to food for comfort during stressful moments. Or sometimes I find a moment’s joy in an online shopping spree that I know will not last.
Addiction. Materialism. Gossip. Gluttony. Pride. So often we’re looking for one thing, and we end up with another.
I love this passage of Scripture in Mark 16 because Mary was looking for one thing but she received another. Mary, grieved at the death of Jesus, brought spices to anoint and care for His body. And here is where the story gets good. She went looking for a body, dormant in the grave: what she found was an empty tomb.
What she found would not only change her life, but the entire world.
That empty tomb means we have power over the strongholds in which we seek comfort. An empty grave means that all the comforts the world has to offer pale in comparison to what that empty tomb offers us. Christ, the risen King, didn’t just die for our sins. He died for our sins and He rose from the grave. And because of the power of His resurrection, in Christ we now have the power to fight off sin and the temptations that we face.
What death and false comforts offer are nothing at the feet of Jesus. One song says it this way, “The grave could not hold him, The veil tore before him. He silenced the boast of sin and grave.” The song continues, “You have no rival, you have no equal, now and forever God you reign.”
Friends, the empty tomb wasn’t what Mary was expecting, but I think if we’re honest with ourselves, the power it offers is not what we are expecting today either. This isn’t some trite Bible story, it’s a life-changing, victorious picture of what God has done and is doing throughout all of humankind.
Read what Scripture has to say about the power that has come through Christ:
John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come so that they may have life, and may have it abundantly.”
1 John 5:3-5 says, “For this is the love of God: that we keep his commandments. And his commandments do not weigh us down because everyone who has been fathered by God conquers the world. This is the conquering power that has conquered the world: our faith.”
Romans 8:37-39 says, “No, in all these things we have complete victory through him who loved us! For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor heavenly rulers, nor things that are present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Another translation says it this way, in Christ we are “more than conquerors” so if God is for us, then who can be against us? (Romans 8:31, 37 NIV).
The resurrection of Jesus changes everything.
Mary went looking for death, and she found the risen Lord. She went looking for some way to comfort her grief, and she found life. And today, whatever it is that you’re looking for, wherever you’re trying to find comfort and worth, it pales in comparison to what the empty tomb offers you.
Sister, that thing you turn to instead of Jesus? Lay it at the foot of His cross. That habitual sin you keep finding temporary comfort in? You are more than a conqueror through the power of the resurrected Jesus Christ. God has proven that He is for us through the power of the empty tomb, so what can be against us? So today, I’m praying that you claim what is rightfully yours in the resurrected Christ: life and life abundantly.
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