In President's Messages

The Tomb is Empty!

April 20, 2019

On April 1, a group from United Theological Seminary embarked on a ten-day spiritual pilgrimage through the Holy Land. Representing United were Callie and Rosario Picardo, Laura and David Weber, Master of Divinity student Jordan Wilson and my wife Cheri and I, who led our group of 48 people from eight different states and Canada on our journey through the Holy Land. It was a deeply moving spiritual experience for all of us as we “walked where Jesus walked.”

Round hewn stone sits in front of a stone wall and bushesOur last experience was to visit the Garden Tomb, which is situated among other tombs from the first century that have been excavated. This may or may not be the same tomb in which Jesus was buried, but it fits the description of the tomb described in the Gospels.

Matthew describes the resurrection of Jesus with these words:

After the Sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead.’ (Matthew 28:1-7)

The tomb was empty on that first Easter morning, and the tomb is still empty today! God raised Jesus from death to life, and He still lives among us.

One of my favorite Easter hymns is He Lives, which captures the essence of Easter best with these words:

I serve a risen Savior, he’s in the world today;
I know that he is living whatever foes may say.
I see his hand of mercy, I hear his voice of cheer,
and just the time I need him he’s always near.
He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way.
He lives, he Lives, salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know he lives?
He lives within my heart.

During this challenging time in our church and in our world, I pray that we will all experience the presence of the Living Christ in our hearts and in our church and in our world. Thank God for the resurrection and living presence of Christ among us.

Grace and Peace,

Dr. Kent Millard
United Theological Seminary

P.S. Several people have inquired if United will lead another Spiritual Pilgrimage to the Holy Land. We are considering another trip in March 2020. If you are interested, please contact my office at [email protected].


Group of 48 people in a courtyard, with Jerusalem skyline in the background

United Theological Seminary travelers overlooking Jerusalem, April 2019.

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