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Empty!, by Phil Ware Phil Ware

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    Empty! Absolutely empty. Everything they had and were was spent, used up, and dried to nothing. They were empty.

    Despite all their protestations that they loved their Master and would serve him to the end, Jesus had known the truth. He loved them so much, and in his hour of greatest agony, he tried to comfort them, but they couldn’t hear it. They couldn’t visualize how weak and empty they really were. Jesus’ words of warning were like little bb’s bouncing off an armored tank. Plink. Plink. Plink. They hit their target, but fell to the ground ineffective in reaching the hearts of his disciples. Despite his faith in the Father, Jesus knew he would face the impending horrors alone and empty.

    When the mob came for him in the garden, the disciples’ courage was nowhere in evidence. Jesus had washed the feet of these twelve men as they pledged their faithfulness. Now one would betray him, another would deny him with curses, and the other ten would forsake him and run away to hide. When they crucified Jesus, most of them hid in silence and shame. After he was buried, they met together behind locked doors afraid, devastated, and empty. Their world was shattered. Their dreams vaporized. Their self-confidence squashed. Their hopes splintered. They were damaged at the core of their existence. They were lost and empty!

“...the empty were filled with the Spirit’ fire.”
    No one on that day could have ever imagined this rag tag bunch of pathetic losers would be world-beaters, bravely facing down the same rulers who had sentenced Jesus to die. But in seven weeks, the shattered were remade, the dreamless were filled with new visions, the timid were made bold, the hopeless soared on the promise of tomorrow, and the empty were filled with the Spirit’ fire. How do you explain such a turnaround? Where does such a shift in fortunes begin? How can the empty be made full?

    The answer is as profoundly simple as it is mysterious. It began on a Sunday morning with a handful of women and trip to the tomb. But not just any tomb, to their surprise the tomb was empty! For these disciples, Sunday would never be the same. Their world would never be the same. No matter how shattered a life, no matter how crushed the hope, this Sunday meant that no life was beyond repair and no hope was beyond fulfillment, for the power of death was empty.

    We live in a world of Sundays because we have a living Lord. We have confidence of life beyond our graves and hope beyond our failures. Why? Because on that Sunday, Jesus broke out of death’s stronghold, opened the door of hope and promise, and left behind his tomb... empty!


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