• P. Frank

He Is Risen! Hallelujah!

Jesus is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Hallelujah! Yesterday, Easter Sunday, Christians around the world celebrated Jesus’ victory over death through His resurrection from the dead. His empty tomb is the pinnacle of God’s love story for us. His suffering and death on the cross, His taking all of our sins with Him to that death – these are all part of Jesus’ climaxing love story for us. God incarnated Himself as man, as the perfect, unblemished sacrificial Lamb of God.

Jesus was the last blood sacrifice to atone for all our sins. When He bowed His head and said, “It is finished” and died, His followers temporarily lost hope. They didn’t understand that Jesus wasn’t there to free them from their Roman occupiers or their earthly shackles. Thank God that’s not all He came to earth to do. Rather, Jesus came to free us from the chains of sin that lead to eternal damnation. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23). “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:54b–57).

The apex of God’s love story for us did not happen at the whipping block, or in the streets of Jerusalem as He stumbled His way to Calvary under the weight of His cross, or on the cross, or even in the grave. No, His love story for us peaked when He brought Himself back to life and walked out of His tomb, glorified. Up until that point, nobody understood His true mission on earth, regardless of how many times He had told them about it. In that moment, Jesus finished His plan of redemption. His disciples then began to understand God’s love story and what true salvation is: Jesus Christ Himself. He gave us our salvation for free. He loves us too much to allow us to be cast into hell for our sins. All we must do is believe in Him and sincerely repent of our sins. He has already done all the rest. Thanks be to God!

“Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, as He said. Come, see the place where He lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that He has risen from the dead, and behold, He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see Him. See, I have told you.’ So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said, ‘Greetings!’ And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; go and tell My brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me.’” (Matthew 28:1–10).

“Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.’ So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus' head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that He must rise from the dead. Then the disciples went back to their homes.”

“But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ She said to them, ‘They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.’ Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?’ Supposing Him to be the gardener, she said to Him, ‘Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Mary.’ She turned and said to Him in Aramaic, ‘Rabboni!’ (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, ‘Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brothers and say to them, “I am ascending to My Father and your Father, to My God and your God.”’ Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord’ – and that He had said these things to her.”

“On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent Me, even so I am sending you.’ And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.’”

“Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see in His hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into His side, I will never believe.’ Eight days later, His disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ Then He said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here, and see My hands; and put out your hand, and place it in My side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.’ Thomas answered Him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’” (John 20:1–29).

Jesus Christ is risen from the dead! Hallelujah! But there is a bit more to John’s testimony than you would think at first glance. Read this again: “He saw the linen cloths lying there, and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus' head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself.” (John 20:6b–7). The face cloth over Jesus’ face can also be translated as “napkin.” It has been said that there is a significant Hebrew tradition between the master and servant in regards to meals and napkins. If the master is finished eating, he wipes his hands and face, wads up the napkin, and tosses it on the table. However, if the master carefully folds the napkin and places it down, it means, “I’m coming back!”

“Then the other disciple, [John] who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed.” (John 20:8). As soon as Peter and John saw the neatly folded napkin set to the side and apart from the burial cloths, they believed that Jesus had risen from the dead. There were no signs of a grave robbery. John had stood at the foot of the cross with Jesus’ mother, Mary, as they watched Him die. John would then get to see Jesus a handful of times more before witnessing Him ascend into heaven. And later, John wrote about his vision, his revelation, about Jesus coming back once more to judge all the earth.

“Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of Him. Even so. Amen.” (Revelation 1:7). “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.” (Revelation 22:20–21).

To God be all Glory! Jesus is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Hallelujah! The Master is coming back! Come Lord Jesus, Come!