Preaching through Mark’s Gospel took me to the cross last week and the open tomb this week. As the two most powerful symbols of our faith, they each hit me powerfully, but from two unique angles.

The cross stirs up our devotion. John 3:16, Romans 5:8, and other such verses drop us to our knees as we realize His love despite our unworthiness. “Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.”

Sitting at the foot of the cross drives obedience from love and gratitude.

The tomb, on the other hand, drives our submission. A risen Savior means He has all authority (Matt. 28:18), and if He called His own resurrection then we can believe He’s telling the truth when He’s called His own return in judgment. We can be resurrected and live eternally, too – but only if we bow the knee.

Sitting by the open tomb drives obedience out of awe and reverence for the King of kings, who will see all His enemies made a footstool for His feet.

In a sense, the cross pricks the heart and the tomb addresses the head. On days when our devotion runs thin and we want the world more than the cross, the open tomb reminds us both of the hope we have in Him, and the fearful expectation of His return should we stray. On days when knowledge fails to motivate, the cross’s appeal to the heart keeps us near His side.

Spend time gazing up at the bloodied cross and peering into the empty tomb every day if you want to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.