But in God’s scheme of things even something empty can represent something very great. This time of year carries a wonderful reminder of that in the message of the empty tomb of Christ. As Christians we celebrate the empty tomb with awe at what occurred and thankfulness for what it means, but do we stop there, or does the story inspire us to something else? The gospels can provide us with a reminder of what needs to follow the fact of the empty tomb in the form of a detail of the resurrection story. Notice what Matthew says regarding the experience of the women who came to the empty tomb and who were confronted by a messenger of God:
“The angel said to the women, 'Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: He has risen from the dead...' So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples” (Matthew 28:5-8).
Here the women who were followers of Christ ran to tell the story of the empty tomb of Jesus and of his resurrection. It was the emptiness of the tomb that gave them a message that went first to those who were already disciples, and then outward to the whole world. And notice that they did not walk to deliver the message of the empty tomb, they ran. They were running based on the importance of the empty tomb – metaphorically they were running on empty.
Some two thousand years later the followers of Jesus can still run on empty. But do we? Is it enough to celebrate the empty tomb, then to go back to life as usual, or should we be running with the news? If we are truly inspired by the story of the empty tomb and what it means – not only for us personally, but for all humanity – with the help of God we, too, can be excited to joyfully run with that message in whatever opportunity we have been given to deliver it.