Sunday, April 5, 2015

He is risen...

"When He had finished praying, Jesus left with His disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was an olive grove, and He and His disciples went into it. Now Judas, who betrayed Him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with His disciples. So Judas came to the grove, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns, and weapons. Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to Him, went out and asked them, 'Who is it you want?'
     'Jesus of Nazareth,' they replied.
     'I am He,' Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.)
     'When Jesus said, 'I am He,' they drew back and fell to the ground."
~John 18:1-6

We talk a lot about the fact that Jesus was crucified, and with good reason. It was His death on the cross that saved us, His blood being shed that covered us and made us pure in the eyes of God.

We talk about the Pharisees and Pilate and Herod. We quote the crowd who yelled out, "Crucify Him!"

But we tend to forget one major point: "The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life--only to take it up again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again." ~John 10:17&18

Jesus was crucified, but it wasn't the mob or the Pharisees or the rulers in Jerusalem or the nails holding Him to the cross that day.

This was the One who simply spoke "I am He," and those who had come to capture Him fell to the ground, the One who put a man's ear back on his head when Peter cut it off with a sword.

This was the One who willing laid down His life for us,
"Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made Himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
He humbled Himself and became obedient to death--
even death on a cross!"
~Philippians 2:6-8

His love for us was so great that He allowed Himself to be crucified--the very action that gives us the word "excruciating"--just so that each one of us could be saved.

As is said in the Passover Seder, "It would have been enough." 
But the story doesn't end there.

On the cross, looking out at the people who put the crown of thorns on His head and the nails through His hands and feet, He said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."

In the midst of His crucifixion, Jesus prayed for God to forgive us.

"It would have been enough." 
But again, the story doesn't end there.

"On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, 'Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; He has risen! Remember how He told you, while He was still with you in Galilee: 'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified, and on the third day be raised again.'' Then they remembered His words."
~Luke 24:1-8

Again, it would have been more than enough.
The amazing thing is, the story doesn't end there, either.

He is risen indeed. 

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