“It stands to reason, doesn’t it, that if the alive-and-present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, he’ll do the same thing in you that he did in Jesus, bringing you alive to himself? When God lives and breathes in you (and he does, as surely as he did in Jesus), you are delivered from that dead life. With his Spirit living in you, your body will be as alive as Christ’s!”
Romans 8:11 (MSG)
In freely giving the life of his only son, God allowed sin and death to believe they had won. For a brief moment, evil reigned as king.
Then, on the third day, the story changed—your story changed—when the power of sin and death fell to its knees before the true king, Jesus.
Your past has been rewritten by redemption, your future transformed by grace. Your story is no longer a story of measuring up, a story of falling short, a story of worthlessness. No. The power that defeated death, that raised Jesus from the dead, is available to you—and to all who believe this truth.
Because of these three days, eternity was impacted forever.
Who is Jesus?
Generation upon generation of believer, seeker, skeptic, and cynic alike have asked this very same question.
In short, there is no short answer.
If history is to be believed, Jesus was no more than a most peculiar Jewish rabbi who gained a passionate following in first-century Palestine. If history is to be believed, Jesus was a man who lived and died – as any man who came before, and as every man who would come after.
Though, if the scriptures are to be believed, Jesus was far more than a man; Jesus was infinitely more than a rabbi. Jesus was Christ; Jesus was Immanuel, “God with us.” If the scriptures are to be believed, Jesus was the very embodiment of love, generosity, grace, justice, and mercy. If the scriptures are to be believed, Jesus was the Son of Man who lived, died, and rose again—for His glory, our good, and for the sake of the world.
Who is Jesus? Well just ask those who feared Him most:
To the arrogant, He was schemer. To the prideful, He was blasphemer. To the wicked, He was revealer.
Who is Jesus? Well just ask those who knew Him best:
To the disciples, He was teacher. To the sick, He was healer. To the weary, He was comforter. To the oppressed, he was liberator. To the overlooked, he was noticer. To those who received his message of love, he was friend. To the lost, He was redeemer.
And to all of the above, to each and every last sinner – He was, is, and forever will be Savior.
Savior from the shame of your past.
Savior from the perils of your present.
Savior from the uncertainty of your future.
Who is Jesus? We promise that He has been waiting your whole life for you to ask Him yourself.
Since the beginning
16 for through him God created everything
in the heavenly realms and on earth.
He made the things we can see
and the things we can’t see—
such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.
Everything was created through him and for him.
17 He existed before anything else,
and he holds all creation together.
18 Christ is also the head of the church,
which is his body.
He is the beginning,
supreme over all who rise from the dead.
So he is first in everything.
19 For God in all his fullness
was pleased to live in Christ,
20 and through him God reconciled
everything to himself.
He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth
by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.
21 This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. 22 Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.
23 But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News.”
Life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as seen in an eternity-changing three day time span.
Click on the red text for scripture references.
Darkness began its drumroll.
On Friday, after being betrayed, denied and abandoned by his friends, Jesus spent hours under fire with officials and religious leaders who were also his biggest accusers. They were jealous of his power, Herod was confused by it, Pilate was afraid of it, but the crowd was firm: incited by those religious leaders, they wanted this guy dead.
Pilate knew, deep in his bones, that Jesus was innocent. But the crowd shouted louder and louder until they drowned out his resolve. Ancient tradition prescribed that he could free one prisoner for the local holiday. Pilate chose … a murderer named Barabbas. And sentenced Jesus to death.
Soldiers slapped, punched, spit on, beat, condemned, and mocked him. They laughed at the idea that he was a king, throwing royal robes over his shoulders and sinking a crown of thorns into his head. And then, in the cruelest death imaginable, nailed him to a cross.
Jesus’ followers, friends and family alike stood by, watching the man who represented their only hope and their wildest dreams be put to death. The desperation, the loneliness, the abandonment, the anger, the horror – it all began to feel real.
And Jesus stayed there on the cross, not because nails held him there but because of his love for his Father and his love for us.
Three nails and three hours later, he cried that it was finished. And hanging on that tree, Jesus tasted the weight of sin with arms wide open.
The dust of darkness began to settle.
On Saturday, yawning between Friday and Sunday, there was nothing to do but wait.
And wonder what on earth is going on.
And remember what on earth went on, just yesterday.
And let the silence speak volumes, as it almost always does.
And fear that cruel tyranny had triumphed, that injustice and evil were victors, and darkness had silenced Love.
Then on the third…
Early Sunday morning, thunderous power, love and beauty broke the silence. What everyone thought was the end, became the beginning.
The man people thought was wrapped in grave clothes, was walking through town, breathing and talking and…very much alive!
Most could hardly believe their eyes. Mary thought Jesus was a gardener; two of his disciples mistook him for a stranger; and his friend Thomas refused to believe without touching for himself Jesus’ pierced hands and side.
And no wonder! They thought that evil had claimed the final word.
But when the cross happened, something else happened too. Something that changed the course of the cosmos, crushed evil, and shamed death. Something that forgave. It was a victory won, a symphony of joy started, a fierce hope set in motion, a new home—heaven on earth—established.
On Friday, Jesus said “It was finished.”
But then, on the third day, he came back to life and declared that the victory coursing through his veins, the new home he was building, the massive love that held him on the cross – we were invited into it, too.
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