By Don Liesemer
On that very dark Friday, the heavens were silent. In becoming sin for us Jesus caused His loving heavenly Father to turn away from Him. There was no rescue. He was left alone to bear the shame and brutality of the cross. For the first time in all of eternity Father and Son were separated…Jesus cried out: “My God, My God, Why hast Thou Forsaken Me?”
But, would things be different on Sunday? Would heaven speak? Would Jesus’ bold promise of crucifixion and then resurrection be fulfilled? "The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again" (Mark 8:31; and see also Matthew 17:22; Luke 9:22). Peter who was one of the first to see Jesus after His miraculous resurrection proclaimed with authority and excitement in his first sermon: “You killed the author of life but God raised him from the dead, freeing Him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.” Acts 2:23-24
Indeed the Father took action on that first Easter morning. There was a rescue. “His mighty power raised Christ from the dead…” (Ephesians 1:19) Have you wondered what things might have been like in the tomb as the Father looked at His Son encased in the bloody shroud? Did He touch Him on the shoulder and whisper, “Jesus, I have come to set you free… Death can no longer hold you… Son, it’s time to get up?” Was there rejoicing? Were there tears? Did the Father affirm His Son’s completed work on the cross and proclaim His victory over sin and death? Did He remind Jesus that in a few weeks they would be together again in heaven but for the next 40 days He had to show the world that He truly is the Son of God through His miraculous resurrection from death?
Someday the mystery of what took place behind the sealed stone might be made known to us, but now we do know because of Christ’s resurrection that we can bank on these awesome promises:
“…God will also count us as righteous if we believe in him, the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.” (Romans 4:24)
“…And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives…” (Roman 6:4)
“ Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,” ( ! Peter1:3-4)
“… God will raise us from the dead by his power, just as he raised our Lord from the dead.
(1 Corinthians 6:14).
Our Christian faith is anchored in Christ’s resurrection. “If Christ has not been raised” claimed the Apostle Paul, “Our preaching is useless and so is our faith.” (1 Corinthians 15:14) “But Christ has indeed been raised.” This is attested by at least 17 appearances Jesus made after His resurrection; the empty tomb; the changed lives of the disciples who were willing to die because of their faith; and the rapid and widespread growth in the number of believers. Jesus is alive forever. Today, He knocks at the door of hearts and lives. This Easter, why not open the door and welcome the Risen Christ into your life? You can do it through a simple prayer:
“Lord Jesus, I invite you into my life. I have sinned and fallen short of your standard. I am sorry. Thank You for dying in my place. You took the punishment I deserved. You made it possible for me to be forgiven and to be reconciled to God. Thank you for forgiving me and for coming into my life. I know because of your being alive forever that I can live a new life and look forward to being with you in heaven when I die. Amen”
“…if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9)