‘He is not here: He is risen’ is the crux of the first Easter message… A careful reading of the passages from the four Gospels – Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24 and John 20 brings out a clear message for the one who would dare to hope!
A closed, sealed, guarded tomb where Jesus’ body was laid could not keep my Saviour in! (Matthew 27:62-28:6)
The women on Friday had gone to see the tomb and how His body was laid. They prepared the spices and early in the morning on the first day of the week, they were on their way to the tomb. One could hear their concerns saying who would roll away the stone. Little did they know their problem had already been addressed and they were in for a pleasant surprise! ‘Vainly they watch His bed, Jesus my Savior; Vainly they seal the dead, Jesus my Lord!’ sings Robert Lowry. An Earth Quake, a strange tomb guard, an empty tomb, a missing body… These were the mysteries that welcomed the unprepared women who came to anoint His body. The angels who were at the tomb invited the women to ‘come and see that Jesus was not there’ and ‘go and tell his disciples what they saw and heard.’ (Matthew 28:6-7).
A closed door behind which the disciples huddled in fear and unbelief, could not keep my Saviour out! (John 20:19)
One betrayed Him and died. Another denied Him and cried. They slept when He prayed in agony. They fled when they seized and led Him away. After three and a half years of close relationship, not one stood by! No one to speak for Him when He was falsely accused… No one to carry the Cross when He stumbled… No one to bury His body after His death… The chosen twelve, who had become eleven after Judas’ hanged himself, were living in fear of the Jews. They had heard reports about the empty tomb and His appearance. But their fears had them shut in. And they were in for a pleasant surprise too. Locked doors, no knocking, and opening, with everything intact, there arrives the risen Jesus and stands in their midst! Not once but twice! (John 20:19,26).
A closed chapter of their lives could not keep my Saviour uninvolved! Luke 24:37-43
Standing before this risen Saviour is a bunch of guys who are guilty of their past, doubtful of their present and fearful of their future. He meets them in Galilee, a place of bitter memories. They had left their professions to follow Him, but now they have lost their purpose and live in panic. The risen Saviour greets them with His peace. (Luke 24:36) He assures them of His never-leaving presence! (Matthew 28:20) He lavishes on them His power, charging them to proclaim the message of hope. (Mark 16:15-18) He reminds them to wait on the promise of God, the coming of the Holy Spirit to be their comfort, companion, and coach. (Luke 24:49) The Bible records just three interactions of Jesus and His disciples after His resurrection – two closed room and one by the sea shore. The rest is history! Christendom today is all about what Jesus could do in and through that eleven, who the world would have given up as hopeless or branded as useless!
Death could not hold Him, the grave could not keep Him! No circumstance in your life can stop Him either! Friend, that’s the simple yet profound message of Easter! Nothing, yeah, just Nothing can keep Him away from you! If Hope was born on Christmas night as Sidewalk Prophets sing, I believe Hope had risen on the first Easter morn to live forever and enable those who put their trust in this Hope to live forever too. From this Easter would you go on to live out loud with the peace, presence, power and promises bestowed by the risen Saviour? Hope is risen for Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Blessed Easter!