Vandalia United Methodist Church


Pastor's Perspective

One of my favorite children's lessons is "empty or full". I typically bring a variety of containers (cookie jar, candy jar, piggy bank) and ask "is this better if it is empty or full?" The kids always answer "full". They are right, a full cookie jar is usually better than an empty one, unless our stomachs are full of cookies!

The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian church about the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Apparently, some Corinthians did not believe Jesus was resurrected. Perhaps the burial tomb of Joseph (where Jesus' broken body had been taken after the crucifixion) had a hidden compartment, or his body had been moved to another tomb? Here is a portion of Paul's response (1 Corinthians 15 The Berean Bible (www.Berean.Bible) Berean Study Bible (BSB) © 2016, 2020)

"But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is worthless, and so is your faith. In that case, we are also exposed as false witnesses about God. For we have testified about God that He raised Christ from the dead, but He did not raise Him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If our hope in Christ is for this life alone, we are to be pitied more than all human beings."

What Paul is arguing is that unless the Easter tomb was emptied because Jesus was resurrected or our faith itself is empty. What purpose is there to having faith unless we believe that God can bring the dead back to life? The empty tomb is the key to our full promise. I have officiated at perhaps 500 funerals over the course of my ministry. At every single funeral I have recited the promise of Jesus (John 14), "in my Father's house..." This promise is that Jesus is now resurrected and so he can come for us at death and bring us into resurrection as well. I believe this to be true for myself as well. I hope you do also. Our faith is that God can do what God promised to do. God has already saved His only Son from death (Easter). The tomb was empty because a promise was fulfilled. God will, one day, redeem this promise for us as well. I guess you could say this is the one case where empty (the tomb) is better than full!

Have a blessed Easter!
Pastor Tom







9:30 AM Worship Service
10:40 AM Sunday School

First United Methodist Church of Vandalia :: 618.283.3684