We all know how Facebook works. Somebody posts something we like and everybody else shares it. Pastor Elmore of Frontier Baptist Church shared the photo, and I followed suit. It was a picture of an empty tomb and the caption read, “Christmas was the promise. Easter is the proof.”
Some who liked and shared it from my posting were other pastors. Some were family. Some were just friends. It’s easy to share Christian thoughts and ideas at Christmas and at Easter. The rest of the year they are more unpopular. As I thought about the posting, I began to wonder. What was the promise and proof that it spoke of?
We could say that it was the promise of love. At Christmas, God shared His love with the world by giving us His Son. At Easter, God proved His love by the sacrifice that was made for us.
We could also say that it was the promise of a Messiah, but the ideology of a Messiah becomes varied, even in Scripture where Messiah can mean “anointed one”, but not necessarily divine. Therefore, the tomb presented no concluding proof.
We could say that it was the promise of eternal life, as He who was eternal came to us as God’s gift at Christmas and conquered death once and for all at Easter. The empty tomb was the proof that He lived.
Let me share another thought. Christmas was the gift, but on Easter, that gift was opened. What was the gift? Salvation. At the event we celebrate as Christmas, God gave the promised gift of salvation. Isaiah 45:17 says, “But Israel will be saved by the LORD with an everlasting salvation; you will never be put to shame or disgraced, to ages everlasting.”
While as far back as Moses in Exodus 15, God’s salvation was spoken of, Isaiah gave God’s promise of eternal salvation. When King David wrote of salvation in the Psalms, he was talking of a salvation from his enemies and from the trials of life. But a gift is not realized until it is opened. When the gift was opened it revealed an empty tomb. The Apostle Paul said, “The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.”
The grave could not hold Him. The empty tomb is the proof.
Josh McDowell wrote a book titled ‘Evidence That Demands A Verdict’. Christmas was the promise. It was a promise based in love. It was the promise of a Messiah, a Savior. It was the promise that eternal life could be ours. It was the promise of salvation for ‘whosoever will’. But for so many, it still remains unopened.
The promise and the proof demands a verdict on our part. We must choose whether or not to accept Him.
In the words of Joshua, “As for me and my house, we shall serve the Lord.”
Maj. John Quinn is head of the Salvation Army in Kodiak. He writes a weekly column on religion for the Kodiak Daily Mirror. Past columns can be found online at www.kodiakdailymirror.com.