I can’t even begin to imagine how Mary felt when she discovered Jesus had been resurrected. After an intense crucifixion – darkness covering the land, shaking of the earth, and the temple curtain torn in two – surely this wasn’t over?
Oh, man, how it wasn’t over!
It’s not Easter yet. In fact, it’s around a month until Easter. But I wanted to write about it because, never mind the fact that it’s my favourite day of the year, it is probably the most important day of the year for Christians (other than Christmas).
When God witnessed the fall of man He was deeply moved by our pain; He was deeply moved by the brokenness it caused. All throughout the Old Testament God constantly reminds His people of the new covenant, we can search its pages and discover prophecy after prophecy, promises that someone was coming to give us hope, a second chance at life, a chance at forgiveness and so we could know our Maker.
I can’t get over the beauty of that, of who Jesus is.
Picture this: A Father, Creator God, has a Son. This Son is so precious to Him, He loves Him more than I have the words to explain, He is a part of Him. However, the Father also has a few other children. Well, billions of them. He created them with His hands, He knows each one of them by name, He numbered each hair on their head (Matt. 10:29-31), He loves them insanely, He wants to be loved by them. But they’ve gone a bit off track. They took things into their own hands, told their Father to get lost and set off on their own. But the Father knows He has to save them, He has to bring them back to Him because they’re not safe without Him.
However, there’s this guy called Satan who’s pretty good at leading God’s children astray. God knows that until Satan gets something He wants, he’s going to keep leading the children astray. He’s going to keep guiding them down dark paths, subjecting them to pain and laughing in their faces and saying “I told you so!” So the Father decides that the best thing He can do is sacrifice a part of Himself, the one thing He loves the most, to Satan so he’ll give up. So the Father sends the Son to be with the children and, after a period of time of getting to know the children, of telling them about the Father and showing them how great and powerful and loving He is, the Father tells the Son that it’s time. It’s time to be a living sacrifice in the place of the children so Satan will give up. The Son cries out to the Father, He is so afraid that His sweat turns to blood, but still He says, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42)
The Son is whipped and beaten, He is mocked by the people who follow Satan because they have no idea who He is, He is the Son of God, Creator of the Heavens and the Earth. The Son doesn’t turn and run because He is of the Father, His heart is full of compassion for His people, He knows this needs to happen to stop Satan. The Son, after He had been beaten, was too weak to carry the cross that He was to be crucified on, so they gave it to a man called Simon of Cyrene to carry it to Golgotha (taken from the original Aramaic, meaning “skull”). And, upon that cross, the Creator of the entire universe was cruficied for the sins of His people.
But it wasn’t over.
Darkness covered the land from the sixth to the ninth hour and at 3:00 pm Jesus cried out “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachtani?” (“My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”) At that moment the temple curtain tore in two, the earth shook and the dead were resurrected from their graves! “When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified and exclaimed, ‘Surely He was the Son of God!'” (Matt.27:54)
Jesus, the Son, was buried in a tomb. A massive stone was rolled in front of it and a Roman guard was stationed there at all times so no one could steal His body. But, the next morning, when Mary came to the garden the stone had been rolled away and there was a man walking in the garden. Mary thought He was just the gardner but this was no ordinary man.
This was Jesus Christ, the Son of God, resurrected from the dead, completely alive!
On that day Satan learnt that He had no power over the Father and His children. He learnt that as long as the children choose the Father, His light will always be there to guide them, even on the darkest, rockiest roads. The Father knew the whole time that His Son would be safe, that He wouldn’t die and dissappear forever; He also knew that Satan didn’t realise this.
And when God’s children saw what He had done for them it made them realise, it made us realise, it made me realise, that God loves me so much. He loves me more than I could ever imagine. He sent his precious Son, His child, to die for me. He allowed Him to be whipped and beaten and mocked so I could get a second chance, so Satan would have no grip on me. And God felt all the pain that Jesus felt because He is a part of Him. For the Father to see his Son treated this way was like any loving parent seeing their children attacked, God would have stepped in and stopped it but He knew He had to do this to save His creation.
And because Jesus did this, just like the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32) returned to his father, we can now return to our Father, our Lord and Saviour, our Maker, God.