The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.”
“God must die if humans are going to live!” That was the divine decision.
But there was a critical second part to the plan of salvation: “God must live again!”
That’s the story of Easter.
Our minds balk at the idea of God dying. How can that happen to an eternal one?
The Bible explains that by the Son of God becoming human, he received a human body. When his spirit left his body, life left him.
God the Father did not die. God the Holy Spirit did not die. God the Son did die.
But he must live again.
His dying paid for our sin. His coming to life again claimed his victory over sin and death. The importance of the empty grave cannot be overstated. We are warned: “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost” (1 Corinthians 15:17,18).
Then comes the assurance: “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Corinthians 15:20).
The victory over sin, death, and the devil was won on the cross. But humans needed to know it. It had to be proven to them.
They knew the Son of God had died. They had seen the thrust of the spear and the gush of blood and water. They had handled the lifeless body.
Now they needed to see him alive. They needed to touch him. And they did.
That’s the story of Easter.
But as we read the accounts of that day, we may find ourselves asking, “Couldn’t things have gone more smoothly?”
Why the confusion? Why did Jesus appear and then disappear? Why did he keep some of his followers from immediately recognizing him? Why didn’t he show up in the temple in front of crowds?
Why wasn’t Jesus sitting on that rolled-away stone in radiant glory instead of an angel?
Couldn’t the events of Easter have rolled out better than they did?
Of course not.
Each appearance was planned. The timing was perfect. They also wipe out the assertion that the disciples removed the body to a hidden place. They demonstrate that the story of Easter was not a fabrication by his followers.
No human could envision the way the events of Easter took place.
Good thing the planning of Easter was not left to us. We would have ruined that perfect day.
Jesus knew exactly what he was doing and why he was doing it. Everything happened the way that it did for our benefit.
We look in from afar. But the line of vision is clear and direct. The Holy Spirit has seen to that.
As Jesus said to Thomas, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29).
We were not there on Easter Day. We have not seen him with our eyes or touched him with our hands. But we are, indeed, blessed.
The Holy Spirit has entered into our hearts to show us that Jesus lives.
He lives again.
Lord Jesus, your resurrection from the dead has proven that we will live forever. Keep the vision of Easter before our spiritual eyes that we may always cling to the certainty of life eternal when the day of our death comes. Thousand, thousand thanks shall be, dearest Jesus, unto thee. Amen.
Written and recorded by Rev. Paul Horn, WELS National Civilian Chaplain to the Military, San Diego, California.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.