The Garden Tomb Is Still Empty!
Pilgrims visit the site where it is believed Jesus was buried and rose again.
Every year thousands of pilgrims flock to Israel in order to visit the places where Jesus walked. Amongst non-Catholics the Garden Tomb site is revered as the place where the body of Jesus was supposedly laid to rest and, after three and a half days, rose from the dead.
For Catholics and Orthodox Christians alike there is a different site where they believe that Jesus was buried and rose. A huge Church Building was erected over the site which is called, “The Church of the Holy Sepulchre.”
Regardless of which denomination of Christian a person is they will still be met with the same thing—-NOTHING!
2000 years ago the women who followed Jesus came to his tomb in order to anoint his body only to find nothing but the grave clothes. Luke writes that:
they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: And as they were afraid, and bowed down [their] faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: (Luke 24:2-6)
We might ask the same question of the pilgrims to these sites today, Why seek ye the living among the dead?
What is it that attracts people to these sites? Why do they feel compelled to visit them? What do they hope to find?
Could it be that, by visiting such places, they hope to feel closer to Jesus? That, somehow by touching the places where He walked, some virtue will be passed on to them?
There are hundreds of such places across the world, centres of pilgrimage at the sites of apparent miracles, apparitions or the tombs of past saints. Millions of people pour into these places. Some hope to feel nearer to the one who visited these sites, others go as a penance in the hope of receiving forgiveness or having a request answered and yet others go in the hope of receiving a miracle.
The Bible tells us that everything we need from God is granted through the person of Jesus Christ:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,
And that it is by faith we receive the blessings:
But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, [it is] evident: for, The just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed [is] every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. (Galatians 3:11-14)
How do we receive faith? Does it come by visiting holy sites and touching the places where Christ, Himself, walked? Will this make us nearer to God and, as a consequence, bless us with spiritual blessings? Definitely NOT!!
As it is written:
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
We gain faith by HEARING God’s word. We receive all that we need by BELIEVING God’s word:
But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
(John 20 :31–KJV)
It is NOT a visit to the empty tomb where Christ lay that we need! It is the one who lay in the tomb that we need! We won’t receive anything from an empty tomb other than feelings. Christ, who now sits at the right hand of the Father in heaven, sent the Holy Spirit in His place by whom we access to God:
For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:18-22)
Abraham was not justified because he believed in God:
For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” (Romans 4:3–ESV)
Abraham BELIEVED God, he believed what God had told him and DID what God told him to do!
This is the basis of every spiritual blessing; believing what God has said in His Word and following it:
For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. (Romans 2:14–ESV)
And what is the law followers of Jesus are required to follow?
For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. (Galatians 5:14–KJV)
How does Christ measure our love and devotion? By our reverence of shrines and places of pilgrimage?
HEAR THE WORD OF THE LORD:
“He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him……Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. “He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.” (John 14:21 & 23-24–NASB)
- Posted in: Thoughts and Anecdotes