Have you ever heard the phrase, “The darkest hour is just before dawn.”? The disciples felt that they were in the darkest hours imaginable in the hours before dawn on the first day of the week after Jesus was crucified. They had just gone through the worst of all weeks. That had gone from the high of the triumphant entry on Palm Sunday, to the kangaroo court which condemned Him and the cruelty of the cross all in one week. They had rushed His burial in the moments before Sabbath had begun. To the world, it looked like it was over. Jesus was dead. Now that the Sabbath had ended and the only thing left was for the disciples to finish the job of properly burying Jesus as they wondered what would happen to them.
Then came the morning. A group of devout women dared to return to the tomb with spices to finish the burial rituals with Jesus. Let’s pick up the account in Luke 24:2-7.
“And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, ‘Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.’” ESV
He is not here, but has risen! Those words change it all. Because He rose, He still lives and actively keeps all His promises. He saves all who call upon Him in repentance, He is preparing a home for God’s children, and He will come and take us home.
Today is Easter. Celebrate our risen Lord!
I have always loved that song. It reminds us of those events we remember this week. Easter is a time of celebrating our Lord’s resurrection. However, before that victorious morning, came the time during which He hung upon the cross giving His life for us.
Jesus Himself had said, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” John 15:13 NKJV. He love us (all humanity) while we did not love Him. He knew we had a sin problem and that nothing we could do would ever remove it. He was betrayed, abandoned, tortured and killed to pay for our sins and set us free from our enslavement to them. His death provided a way for each of us to be forgiven and made right with God. He did this in spite of the fact that He knew us with all of our weaknesses and failures. He gave Himself so that we could become sons and daughters of God. As He hung there between heaven and earth, the wrath of the Father for sin was poured on upon Him. He could have come off that cross anytime He wished to do so. He choose to atone for our sins.
Although His sacrifice is sufficient for every human who has ever or ever will walk this earth, He asks one thing in return from us. He said it in John 3:16-18 “16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
The message we bring to the world is that God loves. He loves us so He provided a sacrifice to pay our debt. He loves us so much that He still calls us to turn from our sin and follow Him.
This Easter, my prayer for each of you is that you will know the love of God. Respond to His love today.