Put yourself in this story…
The man whom you believed was going to liberate you from the tyranny of the Romans had just been cruelly tortured and hung on a tree to die. A few of your friends also truly believed that this man, Jesus, would rescue you. But instead, they are helping you take his dead body down from the cross to bury him in a borrowed tomb.
All hope is lost. Not only was Jesus, your leader and friend, dead but surely this would turn to the worse considering all that transpired the last few days.
You’re consumed with hurt, grief, disappointment.
To say you are devastated would be an understatement.
You can’t bear to walk another step, so you sit down… alone… to think through the recent events.
So much has happened, so quickly.
In the silence, the first silence in days, you remember Jesus’ words…
“I must go to Jerusalem. There the nation’s leaders, the chief priests, and the teachers of the Law of Moses will make me suffer terribly. I will be killed, but three days later I will rise to life.”
Matthew 16:21 CEV
And then, all alone, you talk out loud to Jesus… just as if he were beside you.
“It was just like you said! Jesus, they really did kill you! How could they?
Why didn’t they see you the way we see you?
I really didn’t anticipate that they would kill you. I know you said they would. But, I didn’t want to believe it.
And this other thing you said, that you would rise to life in three days.
Jesus, I know everything you ever said was true. So I know I shouldn’t doubt you. But, you’re dead. Dead.
I know. I carried you. I smelled you.”
Still sitting there, tears are freely flowing down your face. The unbelievable happened and you saw it with your own eyes. And then you remember Jesus’ words, again, “Three days later I will rise to life.”
This is just too much for you.
You know Jesus is in the tomb, but like we all do when someone dear to us has left us, we find ourselves talking aloud as if they were right there.
“Oh Jesus… I was there when you raised Lazarus to life. But, who has the power you have to call you from the dead?
It’s just been a few hours, but it feels like a life time. Jesus, I miss you so much.”
And then you stand up to go home.
But, instead you meet up with some friends and spend your night grieving together.
And then it happened!
Early in the morning, Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and several other women excitedly came to tell you what had happened.
Your heart was beating wildly.
The women said the stone was rolled away from the tomb… so they went inside, but Jesus body was gone! All that remained was a pile of grave clothes!! Oh… and two men wearing white clothing were standing there and said this…
“Why are you looking for a living person in this place for the dead? He is not here; he has risen from the dead. Do you remember what he told you in Galilee? He said the Son of Man must be handed over to sinful people, be crucified, and rise from the dead on the third day.”
Luke 24:5-7 NCV
You and the other guys you were with thought the women were crazy. Except for Peter, he had to go and find out for himself.
I’m taking a little liberty here.
Let’s imagine that later that day, you were one of two people who decided to walk from Jerusalem to Emmaus. Keep in mind that so much had happened the past few days that the two of you are discussing every single thing. There is so much to figure out. When all of a sudden, another man is walking with you.
He didn’t seem to know anything about the horrific events you’d just witnessed and experienced. Yet he chews you out for doubting all the things Jesus had told you.
Still he walks the miles with you.
He is so fascinating. He seems to know about everything and gives answers to many questions you’ve had in your heart for a long while.
As you come to the end of your walk, you’ve enjoyed the company of this new companion so much that you invite him to stay with you. He agrees and comes to dinner where he breaks bread with you.
And then you realize… This man is Jesus!!
He really has risen!
You shout out loud, “Jesus did exactly what he said he would do!”
This is unbelievable! Yet it really happened.
“The Lord really has risen from the dead!”
Everything Jesus said had come true.
The man you trusted, he did what he said he was going to do!!
A wave of relief washes over you.
Jesus did exactly what he said he would do.
The Apostle Paul summarizes those final days on earth in 1 Corinthians 15, beginning with verse 3…
Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised
from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. He was seen by Peter and
then by the Twelve. After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers
at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died.
Then he was seen by James and later by all the apostles.
1 Corinthians 15:3-7
May I speak from my heart now?
Jesus did what he said he would do. In obedience to God the Father, and because of his great love for us, he took our place. He paid the price for our sin and he overcame death. Forever.
This same power that allowed him to do all that… is available to you today. All you need to do to receive it is to believe that Jesus is who he says he is… God’s son; ask forgiveness for all the wrong things you’ve done; choose to make him the leader and guide of your life. It doesn’t matter how you say it… just tell it to God and he’ll listen and receive you into his kingdom.
This choice you’re making… it’s life-changing. It doesn’t matter what’s happened in the past, God doesn’t ask us to clean up our act first. All he asks is that we receive this gift of new life that he’s offering… and give thanks!
If you make the choice to follow him today… let me know… let others know.
It’s such a big deal… even the angels in heaven have a party. (Luke 15:10)
And now you know why Easter is such a big deal.
Why the cross is important to Christians.
And especially why Jesus rising from the dead is the deal breaker.
Sin and death were swallowed up in the victory of Jesus’ resurrection.
Jesus is risen.
He is risen indeed.
Those few words tell the biggest and best true story ever.
Christmas is wonderful… but that was just the beginning to this amazing true story of Jesus’ redemption.
Celebrating Jesus and his resurrection from the dead makes my heart burst with gratitude.
Please join me in counting just seven things to give thanks for…
the good and not so good…from the past week.
God I give thanks for:
- Jesus’ humble servant obedience… all for love
- spring’s slow arrival in the emergence of tiny bits of green
- being our hope and our joy
- the wait…
- a fast response to an important email
- being able to see the first half of the moon’s eclipse and watch it from my bed
- hearing my prayer…
We have so very much to be grateful for.
Please scroll down to ‘share your thoughts’ and tap in your ‘seven.’
Thank you for stopping by today. I appreciate you and your sweet comments make my day.
May you be overwhelmed with the amazing gift of Jesus’ resurrection.
He is risen!
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