We are now at Golgotha, the place of the skulls, the hill upon which Jesus was crucified. Consistent with His ministry and instructions, Jesus’ final words were words revealing the word of redemption, and of comfort and instruction and faith. Jesus final words have ranged from separation from His Father, to physical suffering, to the resolve of forgiveness of his enemies care for his family and disciples, and the redemption of one who believed on the cross next to him, and finally the dramatic and finished work of redemption, and return to heaven, in his final minutes of his life.
Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.2 So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”
3 So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb.4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first.5 He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in.6 Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there,7 as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen.8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed.9 (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) John 20:1-9
Jesus’ redemptive work is done. His death and sacrifice served as both the redemption of all who had believed in Him, but a promise of future salvation to all who would believe – remember Nickodemus in John 3 – you must be born again. Now the redemption becomes the catch stone – the final signature and proof of God’s work in our work through His Son. The disciples were still trying to understand all of this – the women were the more loyal and devoted, the men all deserted Jesus before the cross, and now Peter and John and soon the others would be provided proof of the empty tomb, that Jesus was risen from the dead.
Jesus’ resurrection was first and foremost a declaration from God. The apostle Paul proclaimed:
Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God— 2 the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures 3 regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life[a] was a descendant of David, 4 and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 1:1-4.
The Jesus in whom you believe received objective and irrefutable proof by His resurrection that he was the son of God, coming in power, and for the salvation of all who believe. This is the starting and ending point for our faith. It was the banner cry of the early church – Jesus, and his death and resurrection. It was never disproved by his critics, who made up alternative pretextual explanations to try to explain it away. Christians never need to shrink back from their commitment to Jesus, and its redemptive and saving quality, as proven by the empty tomb. Stay well this week.