He is risen!
Early on this Sunday morning during Holy Week, some of Jesus’ friends set out to His grave to anoint the body of their friend and teacher. But when they arrived, they were greeted by what one of the Gospel writers calls “a man dressed in lightning.” He told them Jesus was not there, as He said. He had risen (Matthew 28:1-6).
Every instance in Scripture where an angel meets with people involves a human response of fear. This encounter was certainly no different. This meeting Easter morning mirrors when the angel appeared to the shepherds outside Bethlehem to tell them that a Savior had been born unto them. To the shepherds, the angel came to announce that Jesus had come to them (Luke 2:8-20). To the women at the tomb, the angel came to tell them He had left them—but that He would appear again to them soon (Matthew 28:7).
Jesus’ resurrection opened a door between the fallen, groaning world into which He was born and the renewal of all things (Romans 8:22). That door was a stone rolled back by the very finger of God from the mouth of a grave outside of Jerusalem (Matthew 28:2).
Jesus Christ, God’s eternal Son, present at creation, came in the flesh to be the mediator between God and man. He lived the life of perfect righteousness that all people have failed to live. He died as a lamb led to the slaughter, offering Himself up as the perfect sacrifice to atone for the sins of the world, once and for all. He rose from the grave defeating death itself (1 Corinthians 15:54). Bearing all authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18), He lives as the appointed heir of all things (Hebrews 1:2). Jesus rules over every corner of creation, putting every enemy under His feet, while making alive—by His grace through faith—those who were dead in their sins (Romans 6:11).
If Jesus has not risen, those who trust in Him are to be pitied because their hope extends no further than their wishful thinking. Their faith is futile, and they remain in their sins (1 Corinthians 15:16-19). But if Jesus has risen, then His disciples are born into a new hope—because just as death entered the world through one man, Adam, now resurrection has done the same through the incarnate Son of God, who has prevailed over the power of the curse (Romans 5:12-17).
The last enemy, death itself, has been destroyed (1 Corinthians 15:26).
No one took His life from Him. He laid it down (John 10:18). He laid His life down for His flock, His people. And He laid it down only to take it up again. The point of the cross was not to die, but to die and rise again, defeating the prowling wolves of sin and death themselves.
Jesus said, “I have authority to lay my life down, and I have authority to take it up again.” And this is just what He did. Easter says of Jesus, He meant it! He meant to lay down His life for you! And as sure as He has taken it up again, He knows you!
He is risen indeed!
written by Russ Ramsey
adapted from Behold the King of Glory