I absolutely love this season of the year. My favorite part of it is that we get to concentrate like a laser beam on the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. As the apostle Paul tells us in I Corinthians 15:3-4, that is the gospel, the “good news,” that Christ “died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” There is no better news, and this Christ-centered time of the year provides a natural opportunity for us to emphasize that truth. We are doing that right now in the Holy Week devotional we have written as a Ministry Staff, “Triumphal Entry to Empty Tomb.” We will emphasize the death and burial of Christ in our Good Friday Service on April 15 at 6:00 p.m. We will center our attention on the resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday in both the 9:00 and 10:30 a.m worship services. We have the privilege of livestream this life-giving, life changing message at 10:30 a.m.
Some of my ministry colleagues like to dabble in things from the platform like the latest news, politics, or up to the minute conspiracy theories. I never do that. We have so much to say about the basics of the gospel that we cannot use the precious time we have on matters of opinion or things that are less important.
Let’s review –
Jesus died for our sins according to the Scriptures. Someone dying is not a unique thing, but what is very unique is the fact that the sinless, spotless Messiah died in our place and for our sins. This was not an easy death. It followed a merciless beating by the Roman scourge. Jesus was nailed to the cross, wrists and feet, to suffer and die for our sins. As the choir will sing on Sunday morning, “Hallelujah, What a Savior!”
Jesus was buried. While he walked this earth, “the Son of God had no place to lay his head.” After dying in our place, Jesus did not own his own burial plot. He was buried in a borrowed tomb. It belonged to a rich man named Joseph of Arimathea, who had this tomb constructed for his own burial. The women watched Joseph and Nicodemus carefully place Jesus in this tomb. He found a higher and nobler purpose for his newly hewn tomb. At the insistence of the religious leaders, the tomb was sealed with a Roman seal and guarded by a Roman regiment.
Jesus was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures. The women went to the tomb of Jesus on the first day of the week planning on embalming his body. An earthquake and the Angel of the Lord changed their plans. “He is not here,” the angel announced, “He is risen.” The forgiveness of our sins and the gift of eternal life hinge on the cross and the empty tomb. He is risen, indeed. He is alive forevermore.
The cross and the empty tomb tell the most important story. Jesus rose from the dead and at this moment is seated at the right hand of God. That gives us assurance, boldness, and confidence. We know why we are here, where we are headed, and where we will end up. Please share that message at every opportunity – and invite friends, relatives, neighbors, classmates, teammates, and business associates to worship with us on this important weekend!