Our babysitter, Mrs. H, was very nearsighted and very slow. She was also very excitable. One day I decided to “kill” my brother. We were supposed to be washing dishes. Larry and I came up with this elaborate plan for his “demise.” We took an old knife and broke off the blade. We taped it to his chest and had him lie in front of the cabinets. I poured watered down ketchup on his chest and on the floor. Then I yelled “Stop that or I will kill you!” Mrs. H. yelled to me to be quiet, but I kept screaming and then Larry did his death scream. At that, Mrs. H came in to the kitchen and saw my brother lying in a “puddle of blood.” She began yelling at me and freaking out. I raced for the garage door. Out of the corner of my eye I saw her coming in fast. I barely made the door. And then I heard her bemoaning my brother’s “death.” And it was more than he could take. I heard him start to laugh. And then I heard her start to wail. “Please God-don’t let her faint or she will kill him in the fall.” And then she caught herself and Larry was already up and running for the living room. We were outside on the lawn in minutes, in absolute hysterics at his death and resurrection.
Now, I am not proud of what we did, but at the time it was still pretty funny. While we were rolling around on the ground, she came out and grabbed both of us. Larry was the favorite and he was released with a warning about telling his parents. Me, she grabbed by my shirt and dragged me into the garage and sat on the steps with me, determined that my mom should see what I had done. I sat there quietly and then I saw her eyes start to close. She was falling asleep! After a few minutes I was able to unbutton my shirt and slip out of the sleeves, leaving her with the empty shirt.
Imagine her surprise upon my mom’s arrival and all she had in hand was the “story.” My mom promised her she would take care of it. When she had left, my mom was screaming for me to come out “NOW!” I am sure there was a touch of a smile in her eye as she dished out my punishment.
This is not about doing bad things, but it is about the empty shirt. In life the very thing we dread is often no more than an “empty shirt.” And all of our transgressions were paid for by an “empty grave.” The desire to be free is in all of us. But the ability to be free is often harder to accomplish. My escape was brought about by the drowsiness of a hardworking woman. My freedom was shown by an empty shirt. The ability to punish was removed. And like that, Jesus has left an empty tomb so that we might enjoy eternal fellowship with Him.