More Than an Empty Tomb

It was a cool, overcast morning as we gathered with a few hundred other believers to celebrate the Resurrection on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. That’s a spectacular setting for a sunrise service, but what I remember most is the message that morning. It wasn’t a typical sermon focused on the event of the Resurrection. The text was drawn from John 21, where Jesus appears to the remaining disciples on the seashore.

It was the third time that Jesus had appeared to the disciples after the resurrection. It was here that they gathered around a charcoal fire, to eat the meal Jesus had prepared. It was here that Peter would have a life-changing encounter with The Resurrection – The Resurrected One.

“When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ He said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.’ He said to him a second time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ He said to him, ‘Tend my sheep.’ He said to him the third time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me?’ Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ and he said to him, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep’” (John 21:15-17).

It was Peter who had warmed himself by the fire outside and denied the Lord. In this moment, with the smell of another charcoal fire in the air, Jesus restores Peter. Let me share a couple of thoughts from this passage.

  1. What Jesus restores, what He redeems, He redeems completely. Jesus is not in the business of just repairing the old man; He is in the business of making all things new.

  1. An encounter with the Resurrection – the Resurrected One – is life changing.

I wonder how often we approach Resurrection Sunday, celebrate the empty tomb, and walk away unchanged. In this busy season, don’t fail to make time for a personal encounter with The Resurrection.

By Jesse Smith
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