But as they arrived, they looked up and saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled aside. — Mark 16:4 (NLT)
We’re reaching the final part of a series of articles about the wonderous life of Jesus on earth and the amazing work He did. Today is the penultimate article, the final one to come next week. What did Jesus do? He accepted the unacceptable, He invited in the left out, He loved the unlovable, He reached out to the unreachable, He forgave the unforgivable; He would eat with those who He shouldn’t even meet, He fed the hungry; He released the captives, He delivered the possessed; He moved the mountains, He calmed the seas; He healed the sick, He raised the dead … and today we learn that He rose again!
Well, if He can raise the dead, then surely He, Himself, can rise up! And He did! Hallelujah!
This is, perhaps, the most amazing part of Jesus’ life on earth. He was God in very person, in flesh, here on earth, walking and talking with His creation, His people, the ones He loved – US! He was here in person. Isn’t that the most amazing fact to realise? That God Himself came down to earth to dwell with us, to spend time with us, to speak with us, to show us how to live properly, to help us and encourage us and to guide us in the best way to live.
And then He dies.
No, wait. He doesn’t just die. He lays down His life. He allows Himself to be killed in the most barbaric of ways. He allows Himself to be tortured. He allows Himself to be shamed. He allows Himself to be beaten and hurt. He allows Himself to take on the worse that humanity can throw at Him, to be treated in the vilest way possible, to be taunted and traumatised, to be scarred and to be scorn; and He did this all because of His love for us.
It was the only way, the only sacrifice that could be made to save humanity from itself; to save us from ourselves. The only way that wrong could be made right; the only way that would pay for our horrendous and heinous deeds; the only way we could ever inherit the Kingdom of God and to find our way into heaven. And He allowed Himself to go through the agony, the agonising and asking His Father to take this humiliating ordeal away from Him if it were at all possible. But then the surrender, the final realisation that this was the only way, the only answer to humanity’s utter failure and unmeasurable failing and our absolute and downright fall.
It’s the lowest point in humanity’s history, the humiliating and wretched and woeful choice we made or allowed to be made: the execution, the assassination, the slaying of Almighty God on earth in the person of Jesus Christ.
And who did we choose to save? Barabbas, a notorious prisoner who had committed murder. Why on earth would we choose to free this man, and to crucify the Son of God? Perhaps it’s a choice that we still make today, as we consider whether to follow a life of misdeeds and misdemeanours, rather than following a life of holiness and godly habits? But it was Barabbas we chose on that fateful day, as we shouted:
Crucify him! Crucify him!
Excerpt Luke 23:21 (NLT)
Of course, we know the rest of the story, but on that fateful day, at the end of the first day of the crucifixion, there must have been such a grim period of time for the disciples and the followers of Jesus. They hadn’t yet seen the end of the story, and they thought that this was the end: the death, crucifixion and burial of Jesus, the man they had followed everywhere for the last few years. They believed that He was their Saviour, the Messiah, and the Son of God. But how could that be true, when He had been crucified in the most cruel way? Surely, they had just been mistaken. Sure, He was a great prophet and a great philosopher and a great man; but the Son of God? How could that be true, when He couldn’t stop what happened to Him.
That was the point. For the disciples and all His followers on that day, they knew that He could have stopped it all from happening, if He was the Son of God. They had seen miracles, they had seen wonders, they had seen people being healed and even raised from the dead. Surely, this had been the Son of God? But now, even He is dead. Dead and buried. Gone. Their minds must have been reeling. For days.
And they were walking away. Away from Jerusalem. Dejected, sad, forlorn, walking away from Jerusalem. It was all over. The miracles, the wonders, the healing, the raising of the dead; now it was all over. And this man comes along them as they are walking away, asking them, “What’s up? What are you talking about?”
What? This guy hadn’t heard? He didn’t know?
Then one of them, Cleopas, replied, “You must be the only person in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard about all the things that have happened there the last few days.”
“What things?” Jesus asked.
“The things that happened to Jesus, the man from Nazareth,” they said. “He was a prophet who did powerful miracles, and he was a mighty teacher in the eyes of God and all the people. But our leading priests and other religious leaders handed him over to be condemned to death, and they crucified him. We had hoped he was the Messiah who had come to rescue Israel. This all happened three days ago.”
Luke 24:18-21 (NLT)
Of course, when they had reached their destination in Emmaus and had settled in for the night, as they sat down to eat and Jesus took the bread and broke it and gave it to them, they suddenly recognised Him. And as soon as they recognised Him, He disappeared!
And within the hour they were on their way back to Jerusalem. There they found the eleven disciples and the others who had gathered with them, who said, “The Lord has really risen! He appeared to Peter.”
Luke 24:33-34 (NLT)
He has risen! He has really risen! Yes, He rose from the grave. He is alive!
NOW, it is all over. It’s over to us! It’s over to us to share the Good News that Jesus rose from the grave. It’s over to us to share the Good News that Jesus is alive. It’s over to us to spread the Good News near and far, home and away, to everyone who needs to hear the message that He died so that we could live.
May we pray: Thank You, Lord, You took the punishment of the cross. Thank You, Lord, that You died so that we could live. Help us live for You, in everything we say and do, from this moment on. We ask this in You precious name, our Saviour, Christ Jesus; Amen.
We would love to hear how this message impacts your life today – please get in touch, or leave us a comment here or on Social Media. Thank You, and May God Bless You.
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