I trust your Easter weekend has been a wonderful experience, from Maundy Thursday to Good Friday to Easter Sunday. Hasn’t it been a mixture of emotions?
We witnessed the dread of Jesus’s coming to terms with His assignment in the Garden of Gethsemane where He shed drops of blood in fervent prayer.
And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, ‘My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will’ ~ Matthew 26:39, NASB.
On Good Friday, we turned our heads as Judas hanged himself and Peter denied Christ three times.
We agonized with Jesus as He was unjustly accused and sentenced to die by crucifixion.
We cringed in horror as they lashed His back thirty-nine times and slapped the crown of thorns on His head.
We wept as He carried His cross, assisted by Simon the Cyrene, up the hill to Golgotha where they drove nails into His hands and feet.
But Jesus was saying, ‘Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing’ ~ Luke 23:34.
We sat amazed when He forgave His tormentors as well as the thief crucified next to Him.
And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom!” And He said to him, ‘Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise’ ~ Luke 23:42b-43.
We mourned with Mary, His mother, as she watched her Son suffer unto death.
But standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus then saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son!’ Then He said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother!’ From that hour the disciple took her into his own household ~ John 19:25-28.
We waited on Saturday. But where was Jesus from Friday night to Sunday morning?
After death, Jesus descended into the bowels of the earth to Sheol. Sheol is a two-sided holding tank for the dead, with the righteous on one side and the wicked on the other, separated by a chasm. We know this from the story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-30.
First, Jesus took away the keys of death, hell, and the grave from Satan. Then He preached the Good News to the damned, giving them the opportunity to escape from their prison of hell. Every person who has ever lived must make the choice to accept or reject Jesus as Saviour. Last, the righteous vacated Sheol to live in heaven.
I am the first and the last, and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades ~ Revelation 1:17b-18.
Good Friday seals the forgiveness of our sins and the healing of our physical bodies through Jesus’s shed blood at Calvary.
The miracle of Jesus’s bodily resurrection on Sunday seals our eternity with Jesus Christ in heaven. We rejoice because His tomb is empty! Our Lord is risen, just as He said.
What joy fills our souls as we rejoice in the goodness of our Saviour! To realize that He loved us that much–to come down from heaven to be the perfect sacrifice for us. We owed a debt we couldn’t pay, and He paid a debt He didn’t owe. He restored our broken relationship with God out of his abundant love for each one of us.
Salvation isn’t a dry, dead religion. It’s a living, personal relationship with the One True God.
May we carry Easter in our hearts all year long. May we be forever humbled and grateful, showing our sincere thanks to Jesus for providing us with the precious, priceless gift of salvation.