(Apologies for this instalment being a bit late to the website)
‘And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here.’ Mark 16:5-6 (ESV)
During Holy Week I was looking at some material to use over the Easter season and I came across these words by Tim Chester: ‘If you look at Jesus without the cross and you’ll misunderstand him. But if you’re proud, then you won’t like the cross. Because the cross says that you can’t save yourself. Your goodness, your wisdom, your respectability are not enough. You’re desperately needy. You’re helpless and hopeless on your own. The cross humbles us.’ Reading this was a stark reminder in the midst of Holy week of the high cost of our salvation, the inability we have to save ourselves and the purpose Jesus came amongst us for. As we again get to Easter we are reminded of the cross and all that it means. Many in our day will miss its significance, some will try and make the Christian message about being nice to others or something else our culture approves of but as Chester goes on to say ‘the cross won’t allow that. The cross doesn’t fit our culture. It’s too bloody and brutal. It reveals our sin and our helplessness-and it humbles us.’ As we think of the passage above we see the truth that the tomb is empty. The resurrection is the triumph of the cross, it is why Easter Sunday means the offer of forgiveness is real because through Christ’s death and resurrection sin has been atoned for and death has been defeated and forgiveness is to be found. As the final verse and chorus of the hymn The Power of the Cross declares:
Oh, to see my name
Written in the wounds,
For through Your suffering I am free.
Death is crushed to death;
Life is mine to live,
Won through Your selfless love.
This, the pow’r of the cross:
Son of God—slain for us.
What a love! What a cost!
We stand forgiven at the cross.”
May you have a wonderful Easter and see afresh the wonder of the cross and the empty tomb.