It's one of my favorite traditions. Fellow believers greet me on Resurrection Sunday with "He is risen," and I get to respond, "He is risen indeed!"
Sonlight student Rebekah R
Sometimes I get too focused on the tasks of everyday life. But Passion Week and Easter always pull my attention back to the glorious reality of Christ's resurrection.
I recently got to share the Easter story with a group of Christians and non-Christians. As I prepared for this great privilege, I was struck again by the fact that Jesus knew what was going to happen to Him. And He not only knew it, He actively predicted and chose to go through with it.
When Jesus announced that He was headed toward Jerusalem before the Passover, His followers were amazed. Didn't He know how dangerous that was? People were waiting to kill Him there! Yes, Jesus did know this. And He knew it was His time. So instead of hiding, He openly went up to Jerusalem.
When Judas was secretly preparing to betray Him, Jesus broke bread with him and said, "What you are about to do, do quickly." And so Judas left to carry out his plans.
It even seems like Jesus chose when to die. On the cross He cried, "It is finished." Then He gave up His spirit and breathed His last.
Throughout the Gospels, Jesus explains that He will be put to death and then rise from the dead. It takes a while for the disciples to understand this. But by the end, even the religious leaders knew that Jesus was predicting something big. So, they went back to the Roman governor (whom they despised) and asked for round-the-clock guards at Jesus' tomb.
Why does all this matter? Because Jesus actively chose to follow the Father's will. Jesus accepted the most painful and shameful death the Romans knew how to inflict. Even more, Jesus – who had lived in perfect unity with the Father for eternity – took on our sin and therefore suffered apparent separation from the Father. (This caused Him to cry out on the cross, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?")
Jesus was able to choose this path because He was not just a nice teacher or prophet, but Lord. He chose this because of infinite love between Him and the Father and His children (us!). Jesus rose from the dead because He is God. The Romans guarded an empty tomb that Sunday morning because Christ had conquered death.
When someone close to us dies, we come face-to-face with the ultimate wrong. But Jesus' resurrection conquers death for us all. We have a hope of resurrection and new life even after this one. Oh, glorious hope!
So this weekend, let's allow ourselves to be pulled out of our everyday tasks. The Jesus we serve is truly our Lord and savior. Let's rejoice that we can respond: He is risen indeed!