The EMPTY TOMB AND THE OCCUPIED MANGER
Bible Reading: Romans 1:4
If I was an unbeliever—someone unconvinced by divine revelation of the absolute truth of the Christian faith—the greatest doctrinal stumbling block for me would undoubtedly be the doctrine of the Incarnation. The Incarnation is to me the most astonishing truth in all of Scripture. The Creator we read about at the beginning of the Old Testament is the baby that we read about at the beginning of the New Testament.
At the heart of the Gospel is this astounding truth: God became a man in the man Christ Jesus. Although I readily admit the difficulty of getting one’s head around this incredible doctrine, I spurn the world’s reproach of Christians for embracing it. After all, what right does this world have to poke fun at my belief in the Incarnation when it has bought into the cockamamie theory of evolution.
While it is true that I proudly profess to believe the scriptural truth that God became a man, the world unabashedly adheres to the ludicrous theory that a monkey became a man. What we Christians believe is truly amazing, but what the world believes is certainly absurd.
Unlike the theory of evolution and its elusive missing link, my belief in the Incarnation is substantiated by corroborating evidence. According to the Apostle Paul, the Resurrection is proof positive of the Incarnation. If a man accurately predicts his own death, promises afterward that He’ll rise from the dead, and then pulls it off, you can pretty much believe anything He says, even His claim to deity.
Do you remember when the religious leaders of Jesus’ day demanded a miraculous sign from Him to corroborate His Messianic claims (Matthew 12:38-40)? Obviously, their unbelieving eyes were blinded to the miracles of the Master being daily performed all around them. Thus, they insisted upon some other indisputable evidence to substantiate the deity of Christ. In response to their demand, Jesus declared, “An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonah: For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”
According to Jesus, His resurrection serves as a sure sign of His deity. The resurrected Christ is undoubtedly God! He was proven to be so by His resurrection from the dead. Apart from the claim of Christ, all human claims of divinity have ended in the same place; namely, an inescapable grave.
The tombs of the founders of the world’s other religions are occupied. It is only the tomb of Christ that is empty. This, more than anything else, distinguishes the Christian faith from all other faiths.
Jerusalem’s empty garden tomb speaks volumes about Bethlehem’s occupied manger.