The Cross and the Empty Grave

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“God has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” (2 Timothy 1:9-10)

The cross of Calvary and the Resurrection of Jesus have become a sure foundation and solid anchor for my faith. Years ago, when I bowed my knees before the Lord and confessed all my sins to Him, the power of His Resurrection worked complete forgiveness and release of my guilt caused by all my trespasses. I am very thankful to God for eternal life in Christ. If Jesus had not died and risen from the grave, our faith would indeed be senseless and in vain. Good Friday
When Jesus held the Passover with His disciples, He knew that He would suffer and die shortly. This was no ordinary type of suffering and death. He would die the death of a criminal, although He had never done anything wrong.

When He wrestled in prayer in Gethsemane and the fear of death overwhelmed Him, He yielded fully to the will of His Father, even when He had the power to ask for legions of angel to come to His defense. The enemies of Jesus – particularly the Scribes and Pharisees – demanded that Jesus step down from the cross, if He indeed was the Son of God. Many bystanders mocked Him, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ, the chosen of God” (Luke 23:35). The criminal to the right of Jesus understood: “I am guilty, I need forgiveness,” and humbly asked Him to remember him when He would depart. Jesus responded generously, “Truly, I say to you: Today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).

Good Friday is a sad day in which we remember and reflect on the passion, suffering and painful death of our Lord Jesus Christ. He took our sins upon Himself and suffered the punishment we deserved. For our sake, He allowed Himself to be betrayed, mocked, spit upon, offended, beaten, whipped, and a crown of thorns pressed on His head. He went the difficult way to Calvary for us, carrying the heavy cross. He had His hands and feet pierced by nails, drinking the bitter wine before He died an agonizing death. However, despite all the pain and suffering, Jesus asked the Father to forgive His enemies. What happened on Good Friday was to fulfill all the Scriptures. Only after the sacrificial death of Jesus could there be a resurrection, and that is our reason to celebrate Easter.

What Is It All About?
My sins and yours nailed Jesus to the cross; it was our debts that made His death so gruesome and bitter. Because He took our punishment upon Himself, we can now live, provided we have received His gift of grace. Through His blood He has paid the price and redeemed us.

Moses raised the brass serpent in the desert so that the people could look upon it and be saved from the poisonous snake bites. Similarly, we can turn our eyes to the crucified Christ, who suffered and died for our debt of sin. We now look up to the finished work on the cross that Jesus has completed for us. At the same time, however, we also look up to Jesus, who rose from the dead and defeated death and the power of evil.

The Empty Tomb Augustin once wrote: “What a death that gave a mortal blow to death!” The resurrection of Christ declares that death does not have the last word and we do not have to perish but can live eternally. Jesus rose from the dead and overcame death once and for all. With that He proclaimed a triumphant victory over Satan and death. Therefore, we no longer have to fear that Satan can overcome and bind us again. Jesus sets those free who come to Him with sincere and repentant hearts.

The Resurrection of Jesus Is A Fact
All doubts and arguments that the disciples stole the body of the Lord while the soldiers were asleep must be exposed and rejected as falsehood and evil gossip. The frightened disciples could never have overpowered the Roman soldiers watching the tomb. The Scriptures testify, “And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. His countenance was like lightning, and His clothing as white as snow. And the guards shook for fear of Him, and became like dead men” (Matthew 28:2-4).

The women at the tomb became the first witnesses of the Resurrection when they heard the message by the angel: Jesus is risen! Come and see the place where He lay. The stone is rolled away, the tomb is empty! Jesus has risen triumphantly!

Hope for Everyone
The Resurrection Day means eternal hope for all believers. Now we can all turn our gaze to the Crucified, who suffered for our guilt and sins, died and completed the work of redemption for us. We can all look upon the Author and Finisher of our faith, knowing that He will not disappoint or leave us.

Christ is risen indeed! Through His death and Resurrection we are now able to live in the blissful hope to be with God for all eternity.

Dear friend, if you hear the voice of the Savior, I urge you to accept Him into your heart. Then the Resurrection Day will not only be an important historical event, but also the most beautiful celebration experience for you.

Let us be Christ’s witnesses and call out to the world: “Quit your searching! Take hold of the eternal life that is readily available in Jesus Christ!”

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