Devastation. Hopelessness. Confusion. Shock. Doubt. Deep regret.
Up to this point, our text has been heavy, to say the least. It's been almost unbearable to read about how Christ suffered for our sake. It's been uncomfortable to identify with the thoughts, feelings, and actions of fellow saints as Christ agonized in prayer, as He was betrayed, denied, accused of falsities, mocked by the crowd, and finally as He died on a cross for sins that weren't His own.
But Christ's death wasn't final - not at all! It was the culmination of God's amazing ability to take such darkness and mess and turn it into something beautiful and life giving.
Yes, Christ died. Yes, He was buried in a tomb. But, YES He rose from the grave and literally overcame death! He endured all of this so that we might have new life. Let's consider how some of the key saints in this passage responded to the resurrection and how we as believers should respond to it today:
- The women from Galilee - Curious (vs 3). Perplexed (vs 4). Reminiscent of Christ's words (vs 8). Vocal (vs 9).
- Peter - Believed it could have happened. Physical movement - ran to the tomb. Marveled (vs 12)
How hopeful must these women have felt once they heard of our Lord's resurrection, especially after witnessing His crucifixion? How motivated and eager must Peter have been to learn of the possibility to see Christ again after he had denied him three times?
The grave couldn't hold Christ, and in Him, sin can't hold us back from experiencing all that God has for us as His children. It's because Christ's power over the grave that we can:
- Be reconciled to the Father
- Have the power of the Holy Spirit to counsel our hearts
- Have hope in an eternity with Him
- Experience grace upon grace
- Find forgiveness for our sins
- Know true freedom from our chains
- Live a new life in honor of Him
- Be used by Him - even after we've denied Him so many times before.
Isn't it wonderful to know that death and defeat were not where Christ's story on this earth ended? Isn't your heart bursting with gratitude and joy to know that it is because of His resurrection that our story as believers could even begin? If it weren't for the resurrection our faith would be pointless, null and void. If it weren't for the resurrection, Christ would be a forgotten religious leader of the past; one who was killed for no other reason than because other religious leaders felt threatened by the claims he made and the knowledge He had of the Old Testament.
Praise God that we can rejoice and rest in the fact that "If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. (1 Cor 15:17)"
Questions to ponder:
- How should the truth of the resurrection impact how you perceive the power of sin and death?
- How should the truth of the resurrection permeated your life in interactions with unbelievers, as well as in community with fellow saints?
- Is there anything standing in the way of you truly experiencing and celebrating the reality of Christ's resurrection?
– Jenn Jackson