I love Resurrection Sunday. I love walking into church and hearing the greeting, “He has risen,” being met with the response of, “He has risen, indeed!” This event is what separates Christianity and all the other religions of the world: Jesus defeated death.
But Jesus’ followers didn’t understand. They were sure He was going to free them from Rome. They were confident He was going to give them a new life. Yet days earlier they saw Him bruised and bloody, hanging on a sinner’s cross. They heard Him say, It is finished.” They saw Him bow His head and die.
They had to have been devastated. They trusted He was the promised Messiah. They believed He fulfilled the scriptures. Yet they saw them take His body off the cross, wrap it in cloth, and place it in a grave.
We know now that Jesus rose that Sunday ~ Resurrection Sunday ~ but what do you think His followers thought the day before ~ the day referred to as Holy Saturday?
Mary, Mother of Jesus must have had conflicting thoughts. Did she question God? Did she sob in her prayers, “Lord, I honor You and am still Your willing servant, but what happened? Did I do something wrong that made You pull Your convenant away from me?”
Peter, the one who swore complete allegiance to Jesus, had cursed and denied even knowing Jesus, just as Jesus had predicted. How deep did his grief and shame cut? Everything he had believed and relied on was gone. What was the point of going on?
Imagine the devastation Mary Magdalene experienced. She had been a scourge to society ~ hated, abused, used and disposed. When she had met Jesus she experienced the purest love ever imagined. It had changed her life. She had value ~ Jesus had told her so! Now He was gone. He said He’d free her. How could she go back to living the life she once knew? How could she give herself to others as she had before?
None of them understood, but how could they? They did not realize that to defeat death one needs to die then come back to life. They didn’t realize that just because Jesus died, life hadn’t ended for Him. They didn’t realize that His words still rang true. He would set the captives free. He would offer a living water to quench a parched soul. He would fulfill the prophecies of the Old Testament.
Before we judge them too harshly, how many times do we wring our hands when we think a promise God has made to us is no longer possible to keep? How many times do we doubt His love and interest in our lives?
Jesus died for us. Not only did He die for us, He died for each of us! If I would have been the only sinner during all times before the birth of Christ and after … if I would have been the only sinner on earth during the First Century Church through today and onto the time of His return… if I would have been the only sinner ever alive, the Son of God Almighty would have agreed to die in my place to cover my sins.
If that doesn’t say, “It is finished” nothing does.
Happy Resurrection Sunday! Christ has risen, He has risen indeed! And He would do it again if He needed to. Remember that when you begin to question if He loves you.
Yes, it is over. Hallelujah to that!
In 2009, Robin founded Renew Ministries, sharing with spiritually – and emotionally – broken men and women that God has a plan for their lives. She has participated and led Divorce Care support groups and has written and published, From Pain to Peace: A Journey of Forgiveness After Divorce in hopes of sharing what she has learned ~ both good and bad ~ in life surrounding divorce. She also contributed to a compilation of devotions, Christian Women Alive’s Thirty Day Devotional). She just finished her second book, Ten Days to Live, recounting her experience in surviving brain surgery. She attends Lighthouse Church in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania with her husband, Lew, serves on its Steering Committee (governance board), and teaches/leads Sunday morning and home group discussions as her schedule allows.