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The Open Doors Of Easter

After preaching in a small village of northern India, a Christian missionary was confronted by a Muslim. “You must admit we Muslims have something you do not have. When we go to Mecca, we at least find a coffin. But when you Christians journey to Jerusalem, you find nothing but an empty tomb.”

What a difference! Islam has its coffin at Mecca. Atheistic communism has the mummified remains of Lenin. The followers of Buddha pray over his relic bones. But Christians rejoice in an empty grave!

We would despair were it still occupied. For what the angel announced (“He is not here; for He is risen!”) St. Paul explained, “If Christ is not risen, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished” (1 Cor. 15:17-18).

The drifting sands of Egypt and Babylon have long sealed the doors to many a temple and many a tomb of the ancients. But the door to our Lord’s tomb was opened by an angel–not to let Jesus out, but to reveal how empty His grave was.

That open door–with its message, ‘Christ is alive!’–is the keystone in the triumphal arch of Christianity.

It is the very difference! It ended tears and brought joy to believing disciples. It leads to other open doors, to other soul-stirring vistas.

Incontestable Evidence

The open door of Christ’s tomb is an open door to the incontestable evidence and blessed assurance that God’s Word and His promises in Christ are true. One thousand years before it happened, the inspired psalmist said the Almighty would never allow His Holy One to see corruption. Eight hundred years before it happened, the watery, three-day experience of Jonah was a visual object lesson of Christ’s resurrection.

Early in His ministry the Lord Himself foretold exactly what would come to pass.

If ever there is logical proof of Christianity’s truth, this is it. Since we have a God who so fulfills His promises–hundreds of Old Testament prophecies fulfilled in Christ–who need doubt or wonder about His credibility or truthfulness in anything He says?!

The open door of Christ’s tomb is an open door to confidence and conviction.

The open door to our Lord’s empty grave also means His task was carried through to absolute completion. Christ voluntarily submitted to pains, sorrows, and the horrors of hell and death that He might bear in His own body the punishment we deserve by reason of our sin. His resurrection gave proof of a mission accomplished. The heavenly Father was satisfied and accepted His Son’s sacrifice as totally adequate to wipe out all sin and guilt.

The open door to the tomb means we are no longer in our sins, but have been freely justified for the sake of the living Christ.

Eternal Life!

One open door leads to yet another: the open door to eternal life.

How humans love life. How we rejoice when life is prolonged but for a few months. Yet despite all human effort, death is inevitable.

But our Champion went into the tomb and laid death low. It was the power of God that opened our Savior’s tomb, and by the power of God the “hour is coming in which all that are in the graves will hear His voice and will come forth . . . ” (Jn. 5:28).

John also testified to the fulfillment, “I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God . . . ” (Rev. 20:12). The open door of Christ’s tomb verily means that those who fall asleep in Jesus shall not perish, but shall join the Lord in a life so beautiful, so glorious, so everlasting we can hardly begin to explain or comprehend it.

Long before the ‘Open Door’ policy was forced upon China, God graciously planned and then effected His own Open Door Policy.

The Muslim had it exactly right.

May the empty tomb and the living Christ–who Himself is the “Door”–mightily inspire us to put away the works of darkness and walk confidently through the open, blessed doors of Easter.

–Pastor David Fuerstenau