“The American robin, the largest of the North American thrushes, is found over most of North America in the summer months … its familiar song begins well before daybreak and in many regions signals the start of spring.” –Chipper Woods Bird Observatory
Last year, a female robin constructed a cup nest of mud and sticks behind a down spout on my rain gutter. It took her about five days to complete it, and two weeks later, I spied her sitting on four blue eggs. During this incubation period, she rarely left her grass lined fortress, but once the eggs were hatched, she was absent from it many times during the day.
As the days passed, I realized that I was seeing two adult birds flying back-and-forth to the nest. Both of the parents were now feeding the babies, and this continued until the chicks grew into fledglings. Once they had their flying feathers, the mother left the nest to start a second brood. Anxious for nourishment, the fledglings started leaving their nest to meet the father as he returned with the food. This proved to be dangerous, for when a cat appeared, I noticed feathers in the yard. Eventually the predator was gone, and the nest was empty.
Since robins live up to eleven years, this spring I looked for the momma bird’s return. I have not seen her, and the old nest remains unoccupied. Each week as I cut the grass, I look at the empty nest, and I am reminded of the death of those young birds.
Like the robin’s nest, the tomb of Jesus Christ stands as a silent reminder of death (Matthew 27:57-59; Mark 15:42-45; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:38-40). Unlike the nest, the empty tomb proclaims that there is life after death. It is the first sign of the resurrection, for when the tomb was visited on the third day, the body was gone.
Jesus walked away from the grave, and when the angels reported this stupendous event to the incredulous disciples, they were amazed (John 20:1-9). Yet the ultimate demonstration occurred when he made a series of bodily appearances to multiple eyewitnesses over a forty day period (Matthew 28:1-10; John 20:24-28; 1 Corinthians 15:3-8). This encounter permanently transformed the lives of those who saw Jesus.
Have you encountered Jesus? When is the last time that you have examined the evidence? Most who have rejected it have done so out of pride, ignorance, or immorality; yet, it is based on cognitive fact, for as Clark Pinnock puts it, “The heart cannot delight in what the mind rejects as false.” What about the empty tomb? Christian, are you up for the task?
“Up from the grave He arose
with a mighty triumph o’er His foes;
He arose a victor from the dark domain,
And He lives forever with His saints to reign.”