For He is Risen Just As He Said!
The ageless account of the cruel death of Jesus on the cross at Calvary still rings in the ears of believers around the world. The night before Jesus was crucified, He called His disciples together for "one last meal together" in the upper room of a place prepared just for them. ( Luke 22). It was here He ushered in the 'new covenant' that was to 'over-ride' the original covenant the Jewish people had honored for those many years.
The bread and juice "represented" His body and blood that would be broken, crushed and spilled, shed for the 'sins of the world'. And as Jesus passed the elements to them, it was a solemn reminder to what was to come, but also the great cost of our redemption. It cost the Messiah His life, crucified as a criminal on a cross, that man might be forgiven, set free from the bondage of sin.
That's what it cost God (HIs own begotten Son)! It cost Jesus His earthly life. As He hung on the cross, as His blood drained from His wounded body, He looked to the heavens and uttered, "It is finished". (John 19). His earthly mission was completed, He had satisfied the Father's will, and now the world becomes silent and dark.
His body was removed by Joseph, after seeking permission from Pilate. He was buried in a newly hued burial cave. The stone was rolled into place. Yes "it was finished"....as far as the Jewish leaders were concerned. The trouble-maker had been taken care of now. So everyone thought. However, God was at work taking over the action from this point.
So while the guards were taken his garments and dividing them, while the religious leaders smiled within on their way home, and while the curiouosoty-seekers turned to search for the next event to follow, God was at work. The stone was being jarred from the entrance of the tomb; inside movement was happening. The garments that had been wrapped around the body of Jesus were being removed by the Spirit of God, folded and neatly arranged when He had lain.
And when the Sabboth was over and the women came to administer the ointment they had prepared, they were in for a surprise! The rock was rolled aside, the tomb was open, and something very mysterious was observed. They peeped in and to their amazement, the tomb was empty. And two men (gleaming like lightning) stood nearby (Luke 24) they asked, "Why are you looking for one that is alive here among the dead? He is not here; He has risen" Of course, they did not understand. But the angels (men) reminded them of many things Jesus had taught them. Then, they remembered and raced to find the disciples.
The disciples gathered behind locked doors, fearing the Romans and Jewish leaders. Upon hearing the Good News, there was disbelief, but Peter raced to the tomb to see for himself. "He saw and believed." (John 20) Yes, it was true. Jesus had been raised from the dead. When the Resurrected Lord appeared to them, the disciples rejoiced knowing that all He had taught them was true. Redemption had come. The empty tomb was proof for them. They believed!
So as we push on toward Sunday, may we pause and recount the last days of Jesus agonizing life here on earth.(Matt 26-28) Draw near the cross where He died for our sins and hear the scorn and ridicule. See the blood and water flowing down from His wounded side. Repeat that heart-wrenching plea, "My God, My God! what have You forsaken Me?" (Mark 15). Oh, but let's not stop there; let's follow the disciples to empty tomb and try to experience with them the release of the weight that was on their troubled hearts. "He is not dead; He is alive!". And so are we "alive in Him".