Dark, dank cave.
Stone cold grave clothes.
The all-seeing, omniscient God dumb and mute.
Time passes indifferently.
They finished him.
The one who went about doing good (Acts 10:38),
Healing the masses on the streets.
Did not heal his own disease.
Eventually the mourners will stop returning.
Spices once pungent and preserving will fade.
The corpse will decompose.
Even the memories will tarnish, until their rustiness prevents the remembering of His face.
He’ll be forgotten.
Why should He be remembered?
He was but one more revolutionary quelled. One more radical silenced.
Got what he deserved–only criminals are given such an unforgiving sentence.
The guards kept watch, but their circumspection was circumscribed to the exclusion of any awakening within. They watched, not for any signs of life from inside, only for grave thieves without (Matt 27:64-66).
No eye had seen, no ear had heard, no heart had imagined what would transpire inside (1 Cor 2:9).
What resurrection would be brought to light.
The Ruach reanimated the inanimate body of the Son of God (John 6:63, Romans 8:11).
Inrush of oxygen, expanding deflated lungs.
Synapses resignal, bringing movement to immobilized limbs and organs.
Heart restarts, recirculating stagnated blood.
The dead man, the crucified Christ, came alive again.
Can it be…?
The irreversible, reversed? The irrevocable, revoked?
The disciples answered, “No.” Refused to trust it.
Explained away those who had seen Jesus alive with their own eyes (Mk 16:14).
Ever the gracious God, Jesus did not leave them in their grieving unbelief,
Ever the Comforter, even of those who refuse to be comforted (Jer 31:15-17),
Those who name themselves Marah, and call the Faithful One treacherous (Ruth 1:20).
He came to them (John 14:18).
What a comfort–what an inexpressible comfort–was His rebuke to them! (Ps 23:4)
Grief gave way to joy when Yeshua appeared in their midst, imparting His peace (Jn 16:20, Lk 24:36, Jn 20:20).
Their friend and Rabbi, once dead, now in the very room, eating their very food! (Lk 24:41-43)
It felt too good to be true (Lk 24:41).
Real, flesh and blood, skin and bones–His reality banished every ghostly fear and haunting sorrow (Lk 24:39).
Thomas’ doubt was disarmed and disabled at the invitation of Christ to reach out and touch Him (Jn 20:27).
But not to cling to Him, for He had not yet ascended back into Heaven. Back into the glory He had with the Father before the world’s formation (Jn 20:17, Jn 17:5).
They had forty more days with Him before His body, already lifted from the tomb’s stone, lifted up off of the ground and into the clouds which hid Him from their sight (Acts 1:9).
This departure was not a cause for mourning.
For to know the Father is to be filled with wonder and joy inexpressible at the prospect of anyone getting to go be where He is (Jn 14:28)
Neither would this physical estrangement from Christ, though longer than the three nights and three days spent in the heart of the earth (Matt 12:40), be forever.
No, only a little while and they would see Him with their naked eye again (Jn 16:16).
His Cross-work finished, by ascending He picked up His perpetual priesthood on the basis of His life now made indestructible by resurrection (Heb 7:3, Heb 7:16).
In Heaven He yet tarries, for the sake of the elect.
No guilt-ridden conscience is without an Intercessor and Mediator to plead their case before God as a man would plead for his friend (Job 16:19-21, 1 Tim 2:5).
No forlorn heart of a foreigner to earth is without the consolation of a coming Home (Jn 14:3).
This power–this stunning resurrecting power of the Spirit was not for Christ only, just as the justifying power of the Cross was not for the thief only.
The resurrection miracle is commemorated as complete, but much more is yet to come.
364 days out of the year we shrink from saying so, but each and every human being who has ever lived and died will one day rise again, as surely as Christ Himself did (1 Cor 15:22, Is 26:19).
Christ is the first; many will follow (1 Cor 15:20).
The dead and gone in every grave will hear the voice of the Son of God, and awake.
Regardless of how long they have been deceased or the condition of their corpse.
Resurrected to be judged. Found either culpable of eternal condemnation or blameless in Christ and worthy of unending life by His merit (John 5:25-29).
Easter morning means salvation (1 Corinthians 15:17).
Because the resurrected Christ outlived the curse of death upon all sinners.
No soul is unstained by sin. And no sin-stained soul can possess immortality in the presence of the dread Holiness of God (Ps 1:5).
Therefore every man dies, because every man has offended serially.
We hate God.
We are steeped in pride.
We are fully aware of the justice, compassion, and humanity we should have for each other, and yet we still live almost entirely for ourselves.
We invent new ways of doing evil, and excuse those who do them (Rom 1:28-32).
We all will die a natural death, and after the resurrection of all mankind at the judgment day, we will die again (Rev 20:14).
The second death is a place of eternal punishment (Matt 25:46).
Every human effort at escape from this appalling fate will fail. We cannot save ourselves.
One sin, and all of our good deeds are null and void. Man cannot attain moral perfection, and the slightest imperfection renders us incapable of attaining to Heaven (Ezek 33:12-13).
But Christ has died, and rose again.
There is a solitary hope. There is a sole Savior who can rescue us from the fury of God (Acts 4:12).
Jesus Christ, the sinless One, the One who died as our proxy, the only One who brought Himself back to life.
What astounding self-abasement, that Yeshua (Jesus) revealed His Name to perverse humanity knowing its syllables would be twisted into a curse word, but more–
What staggering selflessness that He entered into humanity to become a curse for us, that every curse might be broken for the one who trusts in His life, death, and resurrection (Galatians 3:13).
There is no sin so ghastly, so shameful that His sinlessness can’t atone for.
In fact, for the one who trusts in Him to forgive their lifetime of accumulated sin, His sinlessness becomes theirs (2 Cor 5:21).
Redemption is ours for the asking (Rom 10:13).
If He can raise Himself from the dead–from the dead–then He can raise us too.
And if He can raise us from the dead, then He can purge the evil from within us, and impute to us perfection that merits immortality.
The vileness of our souls clothed with the purity of His. The perishable clothed with the imperishable (Rom 13:14, 1 Cor 15:54).
This is our absolution.
Revelation 1:17-18, “When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. But He placed His right hand on me and said, “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last, I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.”