This Easter week, my thoughts turn dark as I look to Friday. Pain. Death. Grief.
But Friday is only the climax to the story. It’s not the resolution. It’s not the end.
In the words of Dr. E.V. Hill, “It’s Friday, but Sunday’s coming!”
Oswald Chambers reminds us that the horrible events of that historic Friday weren’t an accident. “The Cross did not happen to Jesus: He came on purpose for it.”
This morning, as we ate breakfast and talked about our most meaningful Easters, my husband told me about the time a friend from Sri Lanka spoke in his church. This friend had grown up watching people journey to the Temple of the Tooth (Dalada Maligawa) in his home country, where the right tooth relic of Bodhidharma, the Buddha, is kept. Bodhidharma’s body was cremated when he died.
Millions make the pilgrimage to Medina in Saudi Arabia every year. There they pay homage at the tomb of the prophet of Islam.
Confucius is buried in the Shandong Province of China, in a large cemetery where over 100,000 of his descendants are buried.
Christians may dispute the exact location of Jesus’s tomb, but they agree on one thing. The most important thing. Jesus’s tomb was only temporary.
His tomb is empty.
Jesus died to rise again.
As C.S. Lewis writes, “In the Christian story God descends to re-ascend.”
That Friday, from noon until three in the afternoon, the sun went dark as Jesus hung on the cross. The earth quaked. The curtain of the temple was torn in two. Rocks split apart and tombs broke open.
Anyone alive at that time had to know that something significant was happening.
Matthew gives more detail in his account:
The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people. When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”
Jesus’s death paved the way for us to have life everlasting.
Again, from Oswald Chambers:
The center of salvation is the Cross of Jesus, and the reason it is so easy to obtain salvation is because it cost God so much. The Cross is the point where God and sinful man merge with a crash and the way to life is opened – but the crash is on the heart of God.
In his own words, Jesus replaces despair with hope. “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.” (John 11:25-26)
Death doesn’t have the final word.