It Was A Morning Like No Other
Never has so much ridden on the outcome of a single event. It was certainly no ordinary event. Planned before the foundations of the world. Prophesied by prophets hundreds of years in advance by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. It was God Himself wasting no time in proclaiming His plan in the Garden shortly after His creation had rebelled and created the atmosphere that would make this event necessary.
Man had sinned. A royal rebellion against God. Not only had he sided with the devil but handed over his dominion and life to that old serpent. The sentence for sin and rebellion had already been decreed. Death was the price. Separation from a Holy God. Where communion and freedom reigned, where walking and talking together was the norm, and rest and abundance had been, now there was only hiding, fear, poverty, and dread. Love and unity was replaced with blaming and shame. Evil and darkness crept and began to infect every person born from fallen man. The blood line was tainted, and sin reigned. Now that sin had entered the world, and death through sin, death spread to all men, because all sinned.
The Price We All Owed
Death was a price that could not be overcome by sinful man. It was final. There was no beating it or overcoming it. Man could not save himself. He would need a Savior. One who had not been tainted or fallen prey to sin. A man upon whom death had no claim. A sacrifice for sinful man. God had just such a man in mind – Himself. God would become flesh and dwell among us.
For God so loved the world, that He would give His only begotten Son, that whosoever would believe in Him, would not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16). His name was Emmanuel, God with us. Adonai. Jehovah. I Am. Everlasting Father. Prince of Peace. Wonderful. The Son of man. The Son of God. We know Him best as Jesus. One who joined His creation in being born to die. Except He was not born to die because of sin, as in our case. He was born to die because of love. The love of a Father compelled Him. He walked with His Father toward the purpose of His life – the cross.
The focal point of history. The defining moment for all who had, did, and would believe in the coming Messiah. It was a death like none other. Jesus became the lightning rod of the wrath and judgment of God. The penalty of sin was poured out upon Christ on the cross. Spirit, soul and body, He took the full punishment of our sin. He took our sin, our sickness, and our shame. And now He was dead. He died out of love, not sin. He died by choice, not sentence. Yet, dead He was and now buried in a tomb.
That morning anguish and disbelief still clouded every heart. Death still appeared final. It appeared once again death had won. What good is a dead Savior? They had expected Messiah to beat death. They had imagined it playing out very differently. Even though Jesus, Himself, had joined with God and prophets in explaining that He would suffer at the hands of sinful men, they had not understood. Jesus even boldly proclaimed that on the third day He would rise again. Why didn’t they expect this to be a morning like no other? Perhaps because they saw Him die.
The events of the morning began to be unveiled.. As the darkness was fleeing from the morning light, a greater Light arose from the darkness of death. A rumble came deep within the tomb. The stone was rolled away and if death could not hold Him, what would a band of soldiers standing guard hope to do? Christ had risen!
“DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory. “O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:54-57 NASB)
Jesus arose and said, “because I live, you shall live also!” He had conquered death, hell and the grave. He is not a dead Savior, but a Risen Savior and King!
The Grand Invitation
The resurrection is an invitation to believe. Not as the disciples did that early morning, for they were believing what they saw. Jesus had given them an invitation to believe His promise, to believe in Him. They tripped over what they saw. With all due respect, God’s plan looked like a colossal failure while Jesus hung on the cross.
Arrested, beaten, and spat upon. He was ridiculed, had a crown of thorns pressed upon His skull, and a purple robe placed on His whipped back. He was then made to carry His own cross upon which He would be nailed and hung for all to see. Isaiah spoke of Him by saying that “His appearance was marred more than any man and His form more than the sons of men.” He was carried lifeless to a tomb and sealed in with a large stone. Yet in all this, God’s purpose was working itself out even when His own followers could not make sense of what He was saying or doing.
The Resurrection today is an invitation to believe and trust in Jesus no matter how it looks or feels. When we understand or when we don’t, when it’s going well or when it’s falling apart, when the sun is shining, or the storm clouds are rising, when there’s feasting or there’s famine, and when I’m going over or it looks like I’m going under our trust is in the Lord.
The Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIRV), “Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Give thanks no matter what happens. God wants you to thank Him because you believe in Christ Jesus.” John 3:16 invites us to believe in Him, not what you see. Too often what we call confusion, is simple unbelief. It may not look like you imagined. It may not be what you expected. Yet the invitation is to believe in Him.
The Only Constant
When things are going great, don’t be deceived into believing in it. It’s a deception to believe in the mountain top. Why? There’s a valley on the other side that is dark and looks like the shadow of death. Believing He is with me, I will not fear. Jesus is the only constant we have in this world. Jesus wasn’t asking them to believe what they see, He was saying believe in Me. As the old hymn goes:
Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, just to take Him at His word. Just to rest upon His promise, just to know thus saith the Lord.
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust You. How I’ve proved You o’re and o’re. Jesus, Jesus, Precious Jesus, O for grace to trust You more.
I’m so glad I learned to trust Him, Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend. And I know that He is with me, will be with me to the end.
Today, we believe in the cross. We believe in the resurrection. Our belief is in the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus says, “Believe in Me also.” Don’t believe or have faith in your trouble, but believe Jesus. We don’t quit at the point of shortcomings, because we believe Jesus. Problems or trials may look bad, but we”re not going to put our faith in them. We turn our eyes toward Jesus. The slamming of prison doors sound final, but so did the stone being rolled into place. Turn to Jesus and be thankful no matter what happens. Walk by faith and not by sight! Good times and bad may change your life, but they can’t save your life. Emmanuel is still with us and able to make all things work together for good.