By Cordell and Janice Vail

18 April 2004

Copyright 2004 by Cordell Vail, all rights reserved

A weekly email gospel message for the descendents of Ammon and Winona Vail

The Empty Tomb

Have you ever thought about what the value of the tomb was that Joseph of Arimathaea gave to Jesus' family for the burial. Think about that in todays terms. The price of real estate. I know it is hard to think in those terms when thinking of Jesus but lets look at it in a 2004 perspective. The tomb was more or less in the heart of Jerusalem. Most people lived in very humble little homes. Can you even imagine what it would cost to own a hill side? Can you even imagine what it would cost to hire workers to cut a hole into the side of the solid rock to make a room. Can you even imagine what it would cost just to have them carve a round stone 6 feet tall that would cover the door. This was not just a plot in the cemetery. This was a very very valuable tomb that would be fit to bury a very rich person in. Even a King. It must have had a value more than what any of the disciples would ever earn

Matthew 27:57-60
57. When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple:
58. He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered.
59. And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,
60. And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed.

But after 3 days Jesus was resurrected. He came forth out of the tomb. And thus the tomb was empty.

Luke 24:2-3
2. And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre.
3. And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus.

The tomb was empty. There was no longer a body in it.

I think that it is so significant that it is still empty, even to this day. I can not imagine that something of that great of a value would jutst be abandoned. If you look at the picture that is sold by the distribution center of th etomb now (see attached) you will see a picture of the tomb that is different than the one that they show you if you go on a tour of Jerusalem. They say they know where Jesus was buried and they show you this tomb. But when President Harold B. Lee went there he told the brethren with him that was not the tomb and he then took them to a place where he told them that Jesus was buried. If you look at that picture you can see that there is a stone track in front of the tomb where a round rock would have been rolled to close the door. Our stake president in Salt Lake took that picture and gave it to the church. President Taggarts name is not on the picture because he gave the copyright to the church so they could use it. But he gave each of us on the High Council a personal copy of the picture and told us that it was a picture of the tomb that President Lee identified as the correct place where Jesus' body was laid.

(To order a copy of this picture click here : TOMB Then enter "tomb" in the Quick Search field and it will take you right to the order form. An 11 X 17 copy only costs $1 + shipping and tax)

So if the tomb was worth so much money and there was not a body in it any more, why didn't Joseph use it again for himself? Or why didn't the family of Jesus use it again for Mary? Why isn't there an embalmed body in it now like in the other graves that are found? Why isn't it a Jewish shrine with a sacred corps of some ancient Jewish person in it like Joseph of Arimathaea? I think it is so significant that it is still empty even to this day. To me it is another witness that He truly has RISEN. He is not there. It is a witness to me of the resurrection. I love to look at that picture of the empty tomb. It is still empty to this very day.

I too know that He has risen. And I know that we too will be resurrected. Each time I look at that picture I am reminded of my obligation to do my part to be with Him again some day. It is my hope and prayer for each member of our family that we will each be resurrected to a glorious resurrection of a celestial body based on our ability to live the commandments in this life WITH EXACTNESS.

NOTE: Nothing in any of these Sunday Sermons is intended to represent the official doctrines of the Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They are strictly instructions and teachings from Cordell and Janice Vail to their family.

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