Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day.
–Matthew 16:21

This week, we are looking at why the resurrection matters. What does the empty tomb prove?

The empty tomb is proof that Jesus Christ died for our sins just as He said. Matthew 16:21 says, “Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day.” Jesus was saying, “My death is not going to be an accident. It won’t be a tragedy. My death is the whole reason I have come.” In Matthew 20:28, He clarified that by saying about Himself, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Why did Jesus Christ have to die and give His life a ransom for you and me? The reason is found in Isaiah 59:1-2. The prophet Isaiah said, “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not so short that it cannot save; nor is His ear so dull that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.” The reason we need somebody to pay for our sin is there is a barrier that separates you and me from God. It is a wall that has been built by our sins. Our sins have become a dividing wall between God and us. We are separated from God in this life.

Somebody may say, “I am not a Christian, but I feel very close to God.” That closeness they feel is a figment of their imagination. They have no relationship with God. The Bible says there is a wall of separation between all of us and God. It is a wall that has been built by our sins, and every time we sin that wall just gets higher and higher. That separation between God and us is present in this life, and if we die in our sins without being forgiven, that separation from God continues throughout all eternity. That is what Hell is. Hell is eternal separation from God.

Now the question is, How can that wall ever be torn down? How can we remove that wall of separation between God and us? Some people think that if they get into the baptistery, then there is something magical in that water that will wash away their sins. Baptism is an important ordinance, but it is a sign of what has happened to us. It is not a means of salvation. Other people think, “Joining a church will tear down the wall.” Other people think, “As long as I live a pretty good life, and I am at least a little more moral than Adolf Hitler, Osama Bin Laden, or Charles Manson, then God will let me into Heaven.” But the Bible says that there is nothing we can do to remove that barrier between God and us. Only Jesus’ death can pay the price for our sins.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Three Reasons the Resurrection Matters” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2014.

Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.