Empty Tombs

"The third day He rose again from the dead." – The Apostles' Creed

I had been thinking about going to Egypt, off and on, for well over 50 years. It was one of the places that I wanted to learn about and see. On the first of October, 1965, I had been at the Cairo airport on my way to the Middle East, but that was as close as I ever got. During the 15 years that we worked and lived in Europe, we never went to Egypt, because at that time, we thought that it was not a good place to take small children. But in April 2001, we went, my wife Greta and I, with a group and a leader. We started our sightseeing tours at the Sphinx in Giza with the pyramids in the background. What an amazing sensation to finally be there, to actually see these sights that I had read about and thought about for so long.

During the time that we were there, we visited the ruins of many temples and other historical sites. The one thing that became abundantly clear to me was the fact that the Egyptian pharaohs were worshipped by their subjects. They went to great pains to build lasting monuments for themselves, and they were buried in ornately decorated, hidden tombs. Dynasties came and went. Some of the tombs were discovered centuries ago by the grave robbers of antiquity. Others are still being discovered even yet. Statues of the gods are still around, but are crumbling, as the teeth of time gnaw away at them. We visited the Valley of the Kings near Luxor, and there are many tombs there, with the amazing artwork of so many years ago. However, the tombs are all empty.

After we had visited some of the tombs, we had some time to reflect on what we had seen. My mind wandered away to another place and another time, and I saw a tomb in a garden in Jerusalem. It, too, was empty, but it had not been robbed, as the priests wanted the people to believe. There was no dried-out body in it, no inscriptions on the walls, and no hieroglyphics on the ceiling. No, it was empty because Jesus had been buried there and He arose on the third day. The women went there early in the morning, and they saw an angel where Jesus had been laid.

Matthew 28:5-6 – But the angel answered and said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay." (NKJV)

That is what our faith is all about: the conviction that Jesus is the Son of God, that He came to save sinners, that He died for our sins, that He arose from the grave, and that He rules in heaven with God the Father, until He comes again to judge the living and the dead. That's why we worship Him! Praise the Lord!

Prayer: Our Father in heaven, during these times of apathy and doubt, we pray that the glorious, triumphant message of Easter will be heard and believed by many. We ask it in Jesus' name. Amen.

1 comment on this post.
  1. PresbyCan Feedback:

    Amen Joel. Happy Easter.


    Amen! my brother. A blessed Easter to you and your family!


    Thank you for your words for Easter.
    First thing every morning I read the Presbyterian Daily to start my day.


    Dear Mr. Jongkind.
    Blessed Happy Easter to you. Thank you very much for this beautiful, meaningful devotional.


    Thank you Joel for sharing your very informative history of men who have been worshipped by other human beings of long ago and slipped into eternity. But as you mention we worship One who lives for evermore.


    Dear Joel,
    Thank you for a truly Easter message.
    Keep writing.


    Joel, as always, I enjoy hearing your experience in the Middle East and how you relate it to the Gospel story. Excellent job!
    Hope you had a wonderful Easter.
    Blessings.