Easter Devotional | 2024 - Day 10

The Empty Tomb and Resurrection Hope

By Dr. Robert Jeffress

“He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying.” ~ Matthew 28:6

For the last nine days, we’ve been traveling together along the Via Dolorosa, the way of suffering that Jesus traveled down for us. The Via Dolorosa comes to its conclusion with Jesus being laid in a tomb. It’s true, that is where Christ’s suffering and pain ended. But today, on Easter Sunday, we celebrate the gospel truth—that’s not where the road ends. Not for Him. By faith, not for us either. 

This wasn’t immediately obvious to those who had followed Jesus up, down, and around Judea for three years. As Jesus took up the cross, all seemed to them to be utterly lost. The hopes they had for a restoration of the kingdom to Israel came crashing down when Jesus was arrested and sentenced. They didn’t need to hang around to see the rest. The crucifixion was the most perfectly awful way to kill a criminal. It was successful 100% of the time. This is where the road ends, they thought.

Even the most faithful followers, the women who never left His side, had their doubts. They continued to seek to honor their Lord. But when they woke up on that first Easter morning, they thought they were going to visit a grave. They thought they were going to pay homage to a corpse. Mary and others went to visit the site where their beloved Jesus had been laid to rest, his brief life cut tragically short. They were going to visit the place where all hope ceased, where the road ends. 

But they were shocked—and we with them should still be shocked today—by what they found. The earth shook. An angel dropped down from Heaven with a flash of blinding light. The stone was pushed aside. Roman soldiers, the toughest military force on earth, buckled at the knees and fell petrified to the ground. Then the angel was the first to announce the best news that our ears could ever hear: “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said” (Matthew 28:5–6). In other words, this is not where the road ends. This is where it starts. 

As Paul wrote to the Corinthians about two decades later, “Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:20–22). The resurrection was not a one-of-a-kind event, it was a first-of-its-kind event. Jesus is the first of many. We inherited death from Adam, but Jesus brought life, the resurrection of our bodies, and the eternal hope of Heaven. He opened up a new path, blazing a new trail.

The way of suffering is a real road. It’s the road that Jesus traveled down. And if you’re reading this, you don’t need me to tell you—the road of suffering is one we all have to travel down ourselves. We still live in a world of disease, violence, and heartbreak. We still live in the looming shadow of our own death. Christ’s suffering was real. Your suffering is real, too. 

But because of Easter, let me tell you the good news—this is not where the road ends. If you place your faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, then this present time of suffering and death will not be the end for you. You’re destined for a kingdom where suffering isn’t allowed, where you will receive peace and joy that lasts forever. By faith in the Son of God, if you will simply trust in Him today, that’s where the road will end for you. You will be with Him eternally!

Questions for Thought

  1. What road would you say you’re on right now in your life? Where is it headed after you die? How do you know?
  2. If you trust in Jesus Christ and know you will live with Him forever, does your life reflect that? What is different about how you live right now because of where you know you will be forever?

Daily Challenge

On this Easter Sunday, spend time praising God and celebrating what He has accomplished for you by Christ’s suffering, death, and resurrection! In light of that good news, think about a specific way that you could encourage someone else with the hope you have received. Set yourself a reminder to make sure you follow through on it this week.

Author Bio

Dr. Robert Jeffress

Senior Pastor

Dr. Robert Jeffress is Senior Pastor of the 16,000-member First Baptist Church, Dallas, Texas, and a Fox News Contributor. He is also an adjunct professor at Dallas Theological Seminary. Dr. Jeffress hosts the daily radio and television program, Pathway To Victory, heard in over 195 countries.

Dr. Jeffress is the author of 30 books, including Courageous: 10 Strategies for Thriving in a Hostile World; Invincible: Conquering the Mountains That Separate You From the Blessed Life; and 18 Minutes With Jesus: Straight Talk From the Savior About the Things That Matter Most. 

Dr. Jeffress and his wife, Amy, have two daughters and three grandchildren.

Author in Israel