The Empty Tomb | Matt Brown

The Empty Tomb

Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb.

—John 20:6

If you remind yourself of the death and resurrection of Jesus each day—living as if every day is Easter morning—you can live every day without regret.

Carnegie Mellon University did a study of the most common emotions humans experience. Right after love, the second most common human emotion—across all races, cultures, countries—is regret. The study identified five common regrets people experience: romance, family, education, career, and finance.

When Henry David Thoreau wrote, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation,” I believe he was observing the desperation of regret. We often walk around with regret like a heavy weight around our necks, pulling our vision away from the stars in the heavens down to the mud and dust of the earth.

Psychologists diagnose and document the effects of regret on the body, mind, and emotions. Phobias, disorders, domestic violence, substance abuse, rage, depression, and anxiety all can be traced back to regret. The Gospel is not just a nice addition to your life; the cross plunges deep into the source of many of these human maladies of the heart and kills these powerful roots of regret.

The other day I was moving heavy furniture into our house and my children kept trying to talk to me. With a grunt I told them, “Can’t talk . . . heavy load.” Many of us feel we cannot talk to God because we, too, are carrying such heavy loads of regret.

Peter walked around with an incalculable amount of regret. His best friend Jesus died, and the last thing Peter did before his friend died was betray Him. There was no way to say “sorry.” There was nothing Peter could do to go back to that moment and make things right. He was left in the desperation of regret.

Peter’s first encounter of the resurrection was not meeting Jesus. Before he saw Him, he saw an empty tomb. We don’t know if anyone else went into the tomb, but we know Peter did. Maybe God let Peter be the first because of all the regret he was carrying.

When we preach the Gospel to ourselves, we step back into the empty tomb. I like to picture throwing my regrets in the tomb and waking up the next morning to find it empty.

If Jesus never left the tomb, we would still carry our regrets everywhere we go. Our hope would have died with Him. But because He rose, we can leave behind everything we’re ashamed of. We can enjoy the forgiveness and freedom of an empty tomb.

Because of the cross, when you look back to your moments of regret, you will find only an empty room. Regrets vanish; the tomb is empty.

Imagine what life could be like if you knew you were totally, completely forgiven from everything and made whole.

Jesus, help my heart to believe You when You say I can be free of regrets because You took them all on the cross.

- Ryan Skoog


This is an excerpt from Chosen, a 30-day devotional (Outreach) by Matt Brown and Ryan Skoog. You can get this book for very discounted rates for use in church-wide campaigns, small group studies, or as a gift book for people who come to faith in Christ, new visitors, or new members at your church. All author proceeds from the book go to feed refugees in some of the toughest areas of the world. Order at: outreach.com/chosen-book/