It’s Easter weekend. For some, that means chocolate and bunnies; for Christianity, it’s the commemoration of Jesus’ Resurrection, three days after being crucified.
“Behold the Lamb of God,” said John the Baptist, “that taketh away the sin of the world (John 1:29).” In him was no sin; he was despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief (Isaiah 53:3); he gave his back to the smiters (Isaiah 50:6). Surely he hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:4-5). All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way (Isaiah 53:6); all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), but the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all; this sinless man, the suffering, friendless one who was numbered with the transgressors (Isaiah 53:12) and was cut off out of the land of the living; for the transgression of God’s people he was stricken (Isaiah 53:8).
But he trusted in God that he would deliver him (Psalm 22:8); for the joy set before him, he endured the cross, and despised the shame (Hebrews 12:2). God’s own righteous standards would not allow him to remain in hell, nor to allow his Holy One to see corruption (Acts 2:31); how could a sinless man be held captive by the grave? It has no power on him (Acts 2:24). The greatest miracle in human history happened that first morning of the week, an event that the rest of human history depends on: if Christ did not rise from the dead, we are all without hope (1 Corinthians 15:13-19). For now is Christ risen from the dead, the firstfruits of them that sleep (1 Corinthians 15:20); God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoso believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).
Who is this King of Glory? None of the angels of God ever received such a high title, or to be called God’s Son (Hebrews 1:5); all the angels of God worship him (Hebrews 1:6). He is gone up on high and has led captivity captive (Psalm 68:18), he has all authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18). He has commanded his followers to preach the Good News of the Kingdom to every nation, to teach them to observe all things whatever he commands (Matthew 28:19). The LORD gave the Word; great was the company of the preachers (Psalm 68:11); their sound is gone out to all lands and their words into the ends of the world (Romans 10:18).
So why seek the living with the dead? All the other religious leaders of the past—while their teachings may have been helpful—are in their graves. Christ is Risen, and he is coming again; he brings his reward with him. He will rule the world with righteousness and the people with his truth (Psalm 96:13).
Grace and peace,
(side note: if you’ve never listened to Handel’s Messiah, I can’t recommend it enough. Now is a good time; it’s quite popular in the days surrounding Easter and Christmas. For a bird’s-eye view, click here to watch a presentation I gave last holiday season)