Progress to and from the empty tomb

Freshwater Staff   -  

In the Easter story, we’re reminded of the chaos and confusion that Jesus’ followers must have experienced in the aftermath of the crucifixion. Our “Peter’s Progress” series continued on Easter Sunday as Pastor Sean looked at the different ways several of the disciples responded in the midst of their chaos and confusion.

Throughout John 20:1-29 and Luke 24:13-35, we see Mary Magdalene, who found the tomb of her Rabbi empty and ran to tell the others only part of the story that was unfolding; we watch Peter and John run back to the tomb after hearing Mary’s story and, upon finding the tomb empty themselves, return to the city and lock the door behind them; and we see two disciples who encountered the risen Jesus on the road to Emmaus and yet initially failed to recognize him.

On this side of history, we come into Easter Sunday with great celebration, great joy, and we should. But that’s not how it started for Peter and the rest of these disciples, for the closest followers of Christ. For them, Sunday was marked with fear and the searing pain of loss. The body of their friend, their Rabbi, the one they thought was Messiah, was gone.

Peter, meanwhile, is still reeling from denying his best friend three times on Friday. He’s probably crushed inside. And even though he’s growing in his faith and there is transformation, he’s still overcome with fear of what the Jews may do to Jesus’ remaining followers.

It all culminates in the upper room. Mary, who had just encountered Jesus after she returned to the tomb, runs to tell the disciples her incredible news. The two disciples from Emmaus, after finally recognizing Jesus, are running back to Jerusalem to share their discovery. They’re all in upper room together, telling each other about their incredible part of the story.

And then…Jesus appeared. He came and stood among them in that upper room, offering peace and revealing his wounds as proof of his resurrection. The disciples’ joy must have been overwhelming as they realized the fulfillment of Jesus’ promises.

The resurrection is an eternal source of hope. Like Peter and the other disciples, may we allow our encounters with the risen Christ to transform us from the inside out into “Empty Tomb” people, sharing the peace and transformation we’ve experienced with others.

The empty tomb symbolizes not only Christ’s victory over death but also the possibility of transformation for all who believe.

Reflection Questions
  1. How do you relate to Mary Magdalene’s initial reaction of despair and confusion upon finding the tomb empty? Have there been moments in your life where you’ve felt lost or uncertain about God’s presence or plan?
  2. Reflect on the disciples’ journey to Emmaus. Are there times when you’ve walked through life feeling discouraged or disillusioned, only to encounter unexpected moments of grace or revelation?
  3. In what ways did Peter’s encounter with the risen Christ transform him? How did this transformation impact his future actions and role within the early Christian community?
  4. How can Peter’s journey from denial to transformation inspire and encourage us in our own faith journeys? What lessons can we learn from Peter’s experiences with failure, redemption, and grace?
  5. Consider the concept of being “empty tomb people,” living lives transformed by the resurrection power of Christ. In what areas of your life do you need to experience greater transformation and renewal? How can you more fully embrace and share the hope of the empty tomb with others?
Watch the Message
Worship Songs from Easter Sunday 2024
  • “Sunday Is Coming”
  • “Forever”
  • “Living Hope”
  • “What He’s Done”
  • “Glorious Day” (after the message)