Are You Guarding an Empty Tomb?*

It is Finished!

There were soldiers that guarded Christ's tomb. And for them this was not just "another day at the office," because this time the death of the "Criminal" presented new problems: would the followers come to steal His body? Would He actually do what He said and come back to life? (I'm not so sure the officials really worried about this last possibility, do you?)

So the stone ... and so the guards! Until...

Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it. His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint 
Matthew 28:2-4 NLT

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Jesus was already gone. He had risen, just as He had said!

And the guards accepted the bribe to deny the truth of it all. The tomb was empty! Jesus had finished the work the Father sent Him to do. He paid the price to reconcile the world unto Himself.

For God in all his fullness
    was pleased to live in Christ,
   and through him God reconciled
    everything to himself.
He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth
    by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.

Colossians 1:19-20 NLT

So yes, it is FINISHED!

But why are so many of us believers "guarding an empty tomb," trying to keep the shame of memories, regrets, sins of the past from impinging themselves on our present as if these offenses are still alive...and unforgiven?

As author Alicia Britt Chole has written,

"Guarding tombs is a joyless job, as anyone who has ever sought to keep the past from the future will attest....Is shame standing watch over any dead things in your life? Jesus died to forgive you -- follow His example and forgive yourself. Fast guarding that tomb. Let an earthquake or an angel roll away the stone so that nothing is there anymore. It is empty. Jesus conquered it. Jesus removed it. All that there is now is light and hope..."

We are alive in Him because He lives. And yes, we are totally forgiven! Glory!

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT

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"So rest weary soldier. Jesus' tomb means that shame has no ground on which to stand."
(Alicia Britt Chole, 40 Days of Decrease, 211-212)

Flawless
Mercy Me

There’s got to be more
Than going back and forth
From doing right to doing wrong
‘Cause we were taught that’s who we are
Come on get in line right behind me
You along with everybody
Thinking there’s worth in what you do

Then like a hero who takes the stage when
We’re on the edge of our seats saying it’s too late
Well let me introduce you to amazing grace

No matter the bumps
No matter the bruises
No matter the scars
Still the truth is
The cross has made
The cross has made you flawless
No matter the hurt
Or how deep the wound is
No matter the pain
Still the truth is
The cross has made
The cross has made you flawless

Could it possibly be
That we simply can’t believe
That this unconditional
Kind of love would be enough
To take a filthy wretch like this
And wrap…

No matter the bumps
No matter the bruises
No matter the scars
Still the truth is
The cross has made
The cross has made you flawless
No matter the hurt
Or how deep the wound is
No matter the pain
Still the truth is
The cross has made
The cross has made you flawless

Take a breath smile and say
Right here right now I’m ok
Because the cross was enough

And like a hero who takes the stage when
We’re on the edge of our seats saying it’s too late
Well let me introduce you to grace grace
God’s grace

No matter the bumps
No matter the bruises
No matter the scars
Still the truth is
The cross has made
The cross has made you flawless
No matter the hurt
Or how deep the wound is
No matter the pain
Still the truth is
The cross has made
The cross has made you flawless

No matter what they say
Or what you think you are
The day you called His name
He made you flawless
He made you flawless

No matter the bumps
No matter the bruises
No matter the scars
Still the truth is
The cross has made
The cross has made you flawless

Songwriters: Barry Graul / Bart Millard / Ben Glover / David Arthur Garcia / Mike Scheuchzer / Nathan Cochran / Robby Shaffer / Solomon Olds

Flawless lyrics © Capitol Christian Music Group, Music Services, Inc

*Borrowing this awesome imagery from Alicia Britt Chole. Her book has led my friend Kristin and myself into greater depth of devotion this Lent. I highly recommend it:
40 Days of Decreas: A Different Kind of Hunger. A different Kind of Fast.