"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." (Matt 28:5-6, NKJV)
Christians the world over know those words as the ones spoken to Mary, the mother of Jesus, and Mary Magdalene the morning Christ arose from the grave. They are simple words, yet they convey a message around which we Christians have built an entire system of belief. They convey an emptiness, an emptiness that brings joy and bliss and passion. They convey an emptiness that only someone washed by Jesus' blood can truly understand.
As I awoke this year on Easter morning and crawled out of bed, I began to reflect on that word, "empty" and what it truly means. Merriam-Webster defines "empty" as an adjective meaning, "containing nothing, not occupied or inhabited; lacking reality, substance, meaning or value, destitute of effort or force; hungry; idle; marked by the absence of human life, activity, or comfort."
Here in these United States, we tend to measure success on our level of fulfillment. We talk about how well our children are doing, what we do at work or our most recent promotion, and even how much we spent on gifts last Christmas – as if righteousness could be bought with a bigger checkbook. But true success is defined by emptiness, not fullness. Emptiness is all that was left when Jesus walked free from the grave. Emptiness is all that anyone saw the morning after Jesus' crucifixion – an empty cross.
Emptiness is such a powerful concept that God uses it in the Bible to describe Hell. Second Thessalonians says, "These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power" (2 Thes 1:9, NKJV). Without God, lost sinners have no hope, no true fulfillment. Lost sinners have nothing but emptiness.
Before Christ, we all have a hole. Plumb sings about a God-shaped hole (Plumb, God Shaped Hole,1999) that only a living God can fill. If we are honest, that emptiness is all we knew before Christ, constantly searching out ways to fill it. We always wanted more despite how full the house might have been, or how many cars were in the driveway, or how much money we had in our bank account.
But this season, it is exactly that emptiness that we celebrate. Because of that emptiness, we found Christ – and He was not dead but is very much alive, seated at the right hand of God! The tomb is empty. The cross is empty. Our eventual grave is empty!
We celebrate emptiness and the truth it brings. Not an emptiness that can never be filled, but an emptiness that points to God. Our hearts, the grave, the cross all point to the One who can fill the hole.
And that is The Empty Truth.
–Mark Klages is an influential contributor, a former US Marine and a lifelong teacher who focuses on applying a Christian worldview to everyday events. Mark blogs at https://maklagesl3.wixsite.com/website under the title "God Provides where Hate Divides," with a heart to heal social, political, relational, and intellectual wounds through God's divine love and grace. Mark can also be found on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mark-klages-04b42511/.