Why We Cannot Bypass the Cross for the Empty Tomb

A sob always escapes when I read through the final day of our Lord’s walk on earth. I often rush to the passages about Jesus’s resurrection, eager to get to the end of the suffering and the beginning of the triumphant. 

I rush because I don’t want to experience the emotional pain. I can handle physically hard, but don’t ask me to do emotionally hard.

I don’t want to imagine Jesus suffering so horribly.

I don’t want to see the blood or feel the blows.

I want to bypass the Passion and move right to the Resurrection. Forego the messy and get to the beautiful and glorious. 

I want to be comfortable in my salvation. I want to do the easy. Attend church, post Scripture verses, pray, share my faith. But I want to do it all from the empty tomb, not from the cross. 

Grace Garden

I want to walk in and witness from the neat and clean, not from the stickiness of Christ’s blood. 

Empty Tomb but No Cross?

But what does the empty tomb mean without Jesus’s death on the cross? 

What does forgiveness mean without the stain of Jesus’s blood? 

What does the promise of salvation mean without the sacrifice that made it possible?

At Easter, I want to bypass the Passion and move right to the Resurrection. I want to walk in and witness from the neat and clean, not from the stickiness of Christ's blood. But what does the empty tomb mean without Jesus' death on the cross? Click To Tweet

Oh, Resurrection morning is indeed glorious! Jesus risen, no more pain, no more persecution. Our future, an eternity with Him in heaven, secured, once and for all. 

But we mustn’t forget the cost of getting there. Our salvation was costly. 

Yet it was a price willingly paid for us. Not in a pretty exchange, but in a hauntingly beautiful one where Jesus gave of His blood, His dignity, His comfort, and, worst of all, His relationship with His Father to secure a future for each of us. 


How can I give witness to such a great sacrifice if I’m not willing to face the uncomfortable?

So I guess the question I feel led to ask myself in this Easter season is am I willing to meet Jesus at the cross, not just near the empty tomb? 

Mary Magdalene was.

Mary Magdalene, along with a few others, ministered to Jesus in Galilee (Matthew 27:55), followed Him on His torturous journey to Golgotha (Luke 23:27), stood by the cross as He breathed His last (John 19:25), and sat facing His tomb as it was sealed shut. 

She was not content to keep her distance. She could not stay away. She did not retreat to her comfortable home when things became ugly.

As an eyewitness to Jesus’s earthly life and death, Mary met Him where He was.

She was willing to be with Him in the torturous as well as the glorious. She was willing to sit in the blood of His death and bask in His glorious resurrection and ascension.

She was determined to be witnesses to it all, the painful and the lovely. 

What Kind of Witness Am I?

That makes me think about what kind of witness I am. Am I willing to meet Jesus at the cross? 

Am I willing to step into the messy as Mary Magdalene did to get an up-close and personal view of Jesus, no matter where it leads? Am I willing to walk with Him on the difficult journeys as well as the easy ones? 

You see, it’s a package deal. There would be no reason to go to the empty tomb if there had been no cross. 

There would be no reason to go to the empty tomb if there had been no cross. Click To Tweet

Mary Magdalene went where Jesus was, even to the cross and even when she was filled with uncertainty. And in so doing, she was able to share the depth of the Gospel. 

15 “Woman,” Jesus said to her, “why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”

Supposing He was the gardener, she replied, “Sir, if you’ve removed Him, tell me where you’ve put Him, and I will take Him away.”

16 Jesus said, “Mary.”

Turning around, she said to Him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!”—which means “Teacher.”

17 “Don’t cling to Me,” Jesus told her, “for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to My brothers and tell them that I am ascending to My Father and your Father—to My God and your God.”

18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them what He had said to her. (John 20:15-18)

“I have seen the Lord!”

In the joyous events and, yes, in my suffering, I have seen the Lord. 

You and I are the Mary Magdalenes of this generation. We are His witnesses. 

I have seen the Lord

Let us no longer make excuses.

Let us follow after Jesus wherever He leads. 

Whether we find ourselves standing near the cross or sitting at the tomb, let us proclaim, “I have seen the Lord!”

Let us follow after Jesus proclaiming, I have seen the Lord!, whether near the cross or at the tomb. Click To Tweet

Reflections: Who are you going to proclaim the Lord to? How will you do that? Why do you think it is important to not just sit at the empty tomb, but to also draw near the cross? Or perhaps you don’t think that’s important, why not?

I’m thrilled to link up with Suzie Eller for #livefree Thursday and this week’s prompt, “no more excuses.” I love these special linkups. They provide an abundance of great inspiration and encouragement all in one place. Click on the images below to check them out.


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Find hope in your real-life struggles. We'll chase it together! I am a wife; mom of 4 (including a young adult daughter with special needs); miscarriage mom of 5; author & follower of Jesus Christ. I write, edit, speak and enjoy everything outdoors.

11 comments on “Why We Cannot Bypass the Cross for the Empty Tomb
  1. Being Woven says:

    Yes, we must walk with Him along the road as He carries His Cross and then with Simon as he took it. We must walk the hard in order to see the grace and mercy which He has blessed us with.
    This is just what I need and want to hear today. Visiting from Suzanne’s.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda

  2. I don’t intend to make one important than the other for both the cross and the resurrection are needed. You can’t have one without the other. The way I see is the cross did all the heavy (ugly work) and the resurrection sealed the deal.

    • Julie Sunne says:

      “the cross did all the heavy (ugly work) and the resurrection sealed the deal.” Well put, Jon! Blessings for a joyous Easter celebration.

  3. Jaime Wiebel says:

    I saw your story in the live free link up and was compelled by the title. I enjoyed your point of view that you like the triumphant tomb but sometimes skip passed the cross. For years I stayed at the cross and didn’t connect it to the importance empty tomb. Although I knew the importance I was stuck at the cross. The connection between the two is vital and and I just love the whole story of the cross. Great Post, I enjoyed your pictures.

    • Julie Sunne says:

      Oh, I hear your heart, Jaime! Some years after our wedding, my father-in-law questioned why Roman Catholics left Jesus on the cross. I had left the Catholic tradition by then, but assured him that was not the case. We (maybe I should say, I) just appreciated the reminder of the suffering Jesus endured for us.

      As Jon mentioned in his comment, we can’t have one without the other. Jesus died and rose for us. The combination brings us into fellowship with the Father and life eternal. Praise God for His perfect plan!

  4. Betty Draper says:

    I want to walk in and witness from the neat and clean, not from the stickiness of Christ’s blood. This is a powerful statement of truth. A look at the cross loses a lot of people,,,it certainly not pretty or romantic or adventurous, or any good word one can find. But it is necessary just as the empty tomb is. Jesus life had to be lived here on earth to make the truth He shared real when one sees the cross and then the empty tomb. I think I struggle when all we do in churches is portray a bloodless faith, when we skip the stickiness of the cross. We have dressed up the resurrection so much it’s hard to get a picture of the awfulness of that time. May were being crucified, many were dying awful deaths but not rose again. Good post, good reminders this time of the year. Yes, lets keep the whole story of the cross out there so the story of the resurrection will be appealing to lost sinners. I know I needed to hear both, the cross and the empty tomb.

    • Julie Sunne says:

      Our church’s Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services this year were incredibly powerful because they presented the awful truth of what Jesus endured. Sobering. Now I’m eagerly awaiting Easter Sunday to joyfully worship the resurrection of our Savior!

  5. Cecelia Lester (Quiet Spirit) says:

    Julie: I am still getting caught up with the blogs I follow. This is beautiful. I believe we NEED the cross in order to understand the empty tomb and what Jesus did for you, other believers, and me,

  6. Cecelia Lester says:

    It was nice to revisit this post. It brings our emotions to the forefront of what the season is about. Thank you for allowing me to revisit these thoughts.

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