It could have been me doubting the unbelievable story the women were recounting about the empty tomb, the angels, and their words – “He is Risen!” Now we usually just give the apostle Thomas the bad rap of doubting the resurrection…but in Luke 24: 9-11 it tells us that when the women came back from the empty tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others…but no one believed them, for their words seemed like nonsense. How many times had Jesus told the apostles about what was to happen? How He must suffer, die, and then be raised from the dead three days later. Still they did not believe it when it really happened. Yes, I could have easily been among those doubters when the words, “He is risen!” echoed across that room.
It could have me with that agitated crowd yelling, “Crucify Him!” Or worse yet, it could have me standing within that frenzied crowd too scared to open my mouth and object to the injustice I was witnessing. Would I have just stood there silently condoning the atrocity as it played out before me, more afraid of man than God? Yes, that could have been me.
Man has always willfully rebelled and rejected God. But God looked past that rejection and sent His Son into the world to save it. Jesus Christ took upon Himself the punishment for the sins of all mankind…He willingly was broken, wounded and killed that we might live. Romans 4:25 tells us, “He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” Today we have that blessed assurance of righteousness through Christ Jesus…and as we look at the empty cross and tomb, we can with confidence proclaim…He is not there, He is risen!
It says in Matthew 26:62-63, ” Then the High Priest stood up and said to Jesus, ‘Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against You?’ But Jesus remained silent.” In this hastily assembled kangaroo court, the priests, scribes and elders gloated in the fact that they finally had Jesus where they wanted Him. They had lined up false witnesses to testify against Jesus…but He wasn’t taking the bait. The High Priest believed that he was in total control of the situation…but he had no idea that he was simply a pawn being used by God within the annals of eternal redemptive history. Jesus had no reason to answer the High Priest… no need to justify or defend Himself. For the plan of salvation, created before the dawn of time, was playing out perfectly.
II Corinthians 13:4 tells us that Christ was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by God’s power. Man looks at the cross and see humiliation, shame, and scorn. They see Jesus powerless as He hangs there dying, seemingly unable to change His situation. But the world can’t comprehend that it was Jesus’ decision to be there. Just as the world can’t comprehend how three days later He rose from the dead. What the world sees as stupid…Believers see as salvation.
No matter how many animal sacrifices were made in the Temple…they never fully removed the people’s sin. It wasn’t until Jesus Christ gave Himself up as the unblemished Lamb of God that humankind was finally delivered from the guilt and punishment of sin. Hebrews 9:12 says, “He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but He entered the Most Holy Place once for all by His own blood, having obtained eternal redemption.” God offered His only son, Jesus, to take our place on that Cross. He died as an atonement for our sins…His blood being shed once for all. Which means He only had to died one time, not over and over again like the Temple sacrifices. For it was Jesus that took upon Himself the sins of the entire world that you and I might be redeemed and set free.
You were on the Lord’s mind long before you had ever heard of Him. He saw you saved and made whole when you were at the very lowest point in your life. He saw you doing great things for Him way before you had the confidence to step out in the abilities He had given you. For the Lord not only knew your name… He saw the person you would become through Him.