THREE EMPTY PROMISES OF EASTER
Text: Luke 24:1-12 Graceway 4-8-07am
(Play “Empty” video from Sermonspice)
Today, I want to speak to you about the Three Empty
Promises of Easter. We have an Empty Cross, an Empty
Tomb, and Empty Burial Clothes. Let’s look at God’s Word
this morning in Luke 34:1-12.
Several years ago I read a story about a young man who
was about to graduate from high school. His family was
wealthy and they lived in an affluent community where it
was customary for the parents to give the graduate an
automobile. “John” (I’ll call him) and his father had spent
months looking at cars, and the week before graduation,
they found the perfect car.
On the eve of his graduation, his father handed him a gift-
wrapped Bible. John was so angry that he threw the Bible
down and stormed out of the house. He and his father
never saw each other again. It was the news of his father’s
death that brought John home again.
As he sat one night going through a box of his father’s
possessions, he came across the Bible that his father had
given to him. He brushed away the dust, and opened it,
and inside the front cover was an envelope with his name
on it. In it was a cashier’s check dated the day of his
graduation. The amount on the check was the exact
amount needed to purchase the car.
As I thought about this story, I couldn’t help but wonder
how many people of the world have done the same thing
Many people have literally tossed aside a wonderful
promise, just because they didn’t understand it, or they
didn’t believe it was possible. In our world, we are taught:
“If it sounds too good to be true, you’re probably right.”
We’ve all been taken in by empty promises, and we
become leery of someone telling us that we can have
something for nothing.
The truth is, the world is full of empty promises. We watch
TV, read the newspaper and magazines and we find
advertising that promises all sorts of things, then when we
read the read the fine print we see, “RESULTS NOT
TYPICAL,” meaning these promises are probably not for
But, God never makes a promise that is not true—all of His
promises are true and reliable.
INSTEAD OF PROMISES FULL OF EMPTINESS, GOD
TAKES OUR EMPTINESS AND FILLS IT WITH
This morning, I want us to think about the promises of
Easter. There are three of them. Each promise is marked
by something empty. We have…
An empty cross, an empty tomb, and empty burial clothes.
It is the fact that each of these are empty that assures us
that God’s promises are real.
Because they couldn’t hold Jesus—because He couldn’t
be contained by the cross, the tomb, or even His burial
clothes, we can be sure of the fullness of God’s promises
in our lives.
The first empty promise we see is the EMPTY CROSS.
Because of the empty cross, we have the promise of
forgiven sins. Let’s go back to that Easter morning some
2000 years ago.
It is dawn, but the sun has not yet risen above the horizon.
A few of Jesus’ followers—women—are on the way to the
tomb. They have been walking for about ½ hour.
Their conversation is subdued. They are heartbroken.
They are going to anoint the body of Jesus. As they come
to the top of a rise on a hill, they all stop. Motionless and
quiet, they stare off in the distance.
As you look with them, off to the right, just outside the city
stands a gruesome reminder of the events of just a few
Do you see it? Over there, silhouetted by the glow of the
orange morning sky, you can see the hill with three
crosses on it. The locals call it “The Skull” because of the
way the hill is shaped.
The crosses stand as a grim reminder of what happened
three days ago.
Look closely at the middle cross. Looking from top to
bottom you still see the blood-stained sign where it is
written THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
Just under the sign, the cross is stained with blood where
the crown of thorns was pressed into his head.
Each end of the crossbar is stained where the nails
pierced His hands. The middle of the cross is also covered
with blood from His back where it was shredded with the
cat-of-nine-tails. You can see where the feet were nailed
because of the blood-soaked area there.
A roman soldier had run a spear up through His side
where more water and blood gushed out.
There was no question about it, Jesus was dead. The
Romans knew it, the soldiers knew it, and the Jews
wanted to make sure of it. You see, Jesus died.
But what I want you to see this morning is an empty cross,
and because of that empty cross, we have a promise of
the forgiveness of sins. You see, we as mankind have a
problem. It is called sin.
All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
There is a huge penalty for sin, and we don’t have the
capacity to pay it. The wages of sin is death, Now, I’m
glad that this verse doesn’t end here, but goes on to say,
“but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our
Lord (Rom. 6:23).
Now, when we think of a gift, we usually think of
Christmas. But the real gift was given at Easter. And
here’s what God says about that empty cross: But God
demonstrates His own love toward us, in that, while
we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom. 5:8)
And there is more! “Much more then, having now been
justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath
through Him. For if when we were enemies we were
reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much
more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by
His life.” (Romans 5:9-10)
Praise the Lord! What a promise! We can rejoice because
of the promise of the EMPTY CROSS!
Secondly, we also have the promise of an EMPTY TOMB!
As the ladies continue, the ground begins to shake, then
as quickly as it came, it left.
They approach and up ahead they see the tomb. The
stone is rolled away! They run in, and the tomb is empty!
Two angels appeared before them and I love what is said
here: Vs. 6 “He is not here, but is risen! Hallelujah!
Another empty promise! I love the promise of an empty
Let me tell you a story about a little boy named Phillip. He
never felt like he belonged. He was nice but acted
differently than other kids, and most kids his 8 year old
classmates ignored him.
In his Sunday School class the teacher told them that
Easter was approaching, and she gave each of them a
large plastic Easter egg that was hollow in the middle and
could be taken apart.
On Easter Sunday, they were to bring the egg back with
something in it that would remind them of Easter. On that
day, they all brought their eggs to class.
The class oohed and aaahed as each egg was opened. In
one was a flower, in another a butterfly, and another a
When Phillip’s egg was opened, there was nothing in it,
and someone in the class said, “That’s stupid! You didn’t
do it right!” Phillip said, “Teacher, I did do it right. Easter
reminds me of an empty tomb!”
The story doesn’t end there. Phillip was a sickly child and
during the summer, he became worse. Finally, he passed
away. At his funeral, each of his friends brought their
plastic eggs and placed them carefully in the casket…
each one of them empty.
The empty tomb fulfills the promise of a resurrected
Savior! And, because of that, each one of us can have the
promise of eternal life! Our grave cannot hold us as it
could not hold Him if we place our belief and trust in Him!
Finally, this morning, we have the promise of empty
BURIAL CLOTHES. You see, Jesus had no need of burial
clothes any more. He arose bodily from the grave!
Hundreds of eye-witnesses saw Him after the resurrection.
Two men walked with Him on the road to Emmaus. He
cooked breakfast for the disciples on the shore of the Sea
of Tiberias. Thomas, one of the twelve disciples, said he
would not believe it until he saw Jesus with his own eyes.
Listen to what John 20:25 says, “The other disciples
therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” So he
said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of
the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not
Eight days later, Thomas met with the disciples. Jesus is
there with them. Jesus invited Thomas to look at His
hands, and His side. When Thomas saw the proof, he
said, “My Lord and my God!”
Paul later writes of many who saw Jesus after the
resurrection, but the most compelling is the five hundred
people who saw Him at one time. Folks, a man who walks
and talks has no need of burial clothes.
He is a living Savior who was recognizable. He walked
with them and talked with them. As I mentioned this
morning, He prepared a meal for them. I want to ask you a
question this morning: “Do you know the risen Savior?”
(Play video “That’s My King!” from Sermonspice)
Do you know Him? You might know OF George Bush or
Tiger Woods or some celebrity. But you can know Jesus
PERSONALLY!. He gives us that promise in His word.
I close with this story: John Maxwell who tells a story about
a blazer that he bought from Nordstrom’s. “About a year
and a half ago, I bought a new navy blazer at Nordstrom. It
was one of those cases you may have gone through
where you buy an item of clothing and the more you wear
it, the more you realize you don’t like it.
“My blazer wasn’t the right color, and to make matters
worse, it attracted lint like it was going out of style. After
wearing it pretty regularly for six months or so, I stuck it in
my closet and didn’t wear it for a long time.
“Tucked away in the back of my mind all the while was that
famous Nordstrom unconditional-return policy. I thought,
I’ve had this thing for a year and a half. I’ve worn it lots of
times, and there’s just no way they’re going to take it back.
“About two weeks ago I decided I had nothing to lose. I
pulled the blazer out, threw a lot of lint on it to make it look
bad, and took it down to Nordstrom’s men’s department. I
walked in, and immediately I felt nervous.
“I felt like I was about to pull a scam of some sort, but I
played it straight. I walked right up to the first salesman I
saw and gave this little prepared speech. I said, "I am
about to put your famous unconditional-return policy to its
ultimate test. I have here a blazer.
“I’ve worn it lots. I’ve had it for a year and a half. I don’t like
it. It’s the wrong color, and it attracts lint like it’s going out
of style. But I want to return this blazer for another blazer
that I like." Then I stood there.
“I couldn’t believe it. This guy with a big handlebar
mustache just looked at me and shook his head. He said,
"For heaven’s sake, what took you so long? Let’s go find
you a blazer."
“Ten minutes later I walked out with another blazer that
was marked seventy-five dollars more than I paid for the
one that I brought in. It was perfect for me. Didn’t cost me
a penny.” Nordstrom’s backed up their promise. God is far
more trustworthy than Nordstrom’s.
He gives us the promise of forgiven sins, the promise of
eternal life and the promise of a personal relationship with
The Bible says, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock:
if anyone hears My voice, and opens the door, I will
come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with
Me.” (Rev. 3:20)
If you will open, He will probably say, “For Heaven’s sake,
what took you so long?”