Sunday, March 24, 2013

History’s Greatest Week

“After the Sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to view the tomb.  Suddenly there was a violent earthquake, because an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and approached the tomb. He rolled back the stone and was sitting on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his robe was as white as snow. The guards were so shaken from fear of him that they became like dead men.

But the angel told the women, "Don’t be afraid, because I know you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here! For He has been resurrected, just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay. Then go quickly and tell His disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead. In fact, He is going ahead of you to Galilee; you will see Him there.’ Listen, I have told you."

So, departing quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, they ran to tell His disciples the news.”  (Matthew 28:1-8 HCSB)

The ladies ventured early on that Sunday morning to a cemetery of all places.  Saturday concluded history’s most well known and ancient history’s most documented week.  One week before the Galilean preacher Jesus rode into Jerusalem, Israel’s capitol city, and was welcomed by multitudes as the promised Messiah of the Jews.  Later in the week would begin the Feast of Unleavened Bread and Passover.  High holy days they were.

As He had predicted on multiple occasions Jesus would be arrested, wrongfully accused, beaten and tried by religious and civil authorities, then by a corrupt court and because of bribed “witnesses” He was condemned to death on a Roman cross.  Just as thousands had welcomed Him into Jerusalem, likely thousands (in town for the holy days) would witness His condemnation, His walk through the city and His death, crucified between two thieves.

That He died was indisputable.  The Romans were experts at crucifixion – their particularly tortuous manner of execution.  They were equally expert at knowing death when they saw it.  So, after His burial and three days in the grave, to find His tomb empty and hearing the news that He was risen and alive was life-changing good news.  History changed at that moment.

That’s why Jesus lived, died and rose again: to change lives – morphing fallen men and women, separated from God by sin to new life as the very children of God.  That reconciliation with God is made possible by His sacrifice and God’s affirmation when He raised Him up.

Don’t let this week pass you by without pausing to ponder just what God has done.  Better yet, believe it and join in on the celebration now and for eternity.