"After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week,
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb."
– Matthew 28:1 (NIV) –
Still grieving, they approached the tomb. Jesus was dead. His gentle nature and compassion for humanity had been met with calloused scorn and a betrayal of His love. He had been slaughtered by those who would seek to dilute the truth of His message and end His life. And so, they approached the tomb of the slain Savior…
"There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.
Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you
into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”
– Matthew 28:2-7 (NIV) –
They find an empty tomb. Elijah did not come to save Jesus. Moses didn't intervene. Jeremiah had no part...for, Jesus Christ, the beloved Son of God, needed no assistance in winning the war over sin and death. The earthquake...the angel...an empty tomb... The sovereignty and eternal power of God was on full display this morning in ways that had never been seen. His Son no longer occupied the dwelling place of the earthly dead. No, He was free from man's schemes to overpower His message, and in that, He had proven His identity...
"So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy,
and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said.
They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him.
Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid.
Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
– Matthew 28:8-10 (NIV) –
Jesus overcame. He became the eternal hope to an entire world engulfed in hopelessness. Before the eyes of God, He became sin, and the wrath of God was poured out on Him. In the completed work of Jesus Christ, we find the only solution to our sin debt and the only promise of eternity in the presence of God. He overcame sin, and, in that conquest, He has become our righteousness.
Today, the grave remains empty, and Jesus is alive and well. His message of truth compels us to follow the resurrected Christ...making Him known so that others may know of the salvation found only in the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Our beautiful Savior absorbed the torment of the cross, not for us, but in our place. He hung on the cross as us, and because of that incredible gift, we can claim the freedom that salvation through His blood offers. That gift is not church; it is not religion, and it is not legalism. That gift is relationship wrapped in inexplicable grace.
I thank God for the Easter story, because in it is found a purity of purpose that has no equal. An innocent Christ willingly crucified for the sins of those nailing Him to the cross. What manner of love equates to that example? It's the story of an innocent dying for His enemies. It's the story of the flawless taking on the sin and shame that could only belong to the flawed. It's the story of the precious Son of God and His great love...a love that is given to a world without merit, and a love that is given without end. It's much more than a story, and He is much more than a Savior. He is, and forever will be, our resurrected King.
Make Him known.
Keith Beatty is a Worship, Missions and Media Pastor living in North Alabama. He's excited and very humbled to be a follower of Jesus Christ!