Easter again! Depending on where you live, you may see Easter symbols like Easter eggs, the Easter Bunny or nothing at all. However, irrespective of where or who you are, we all are united in one Person – Jesus. The cross, the empty tomb and the resurrection are the anchors on which our faith rests. Jesus was killed, was buried and rose again on the third day with striking implications for us. God met our rebellion with His mercy. Christ was made sin for us, so that we can be called the righteousness of God. We cannot get tired of remembering what God has so graciously done for us, something He didn’t need to do but did anyway.
Historically, crucifixion was considered a most shameful and disgraceful way to die. It represented a purposely painful and gruesome method of public execution, as explained by The New World Encyclopedia. Our Lord and Saviour went through this for our sake in order to, among many things, reconcile us with God The Father.
Let us take a step back in time. In the Old Testament, the Isrealites sinned against God and He judged them by sending poisonous snakes to bite them. They begged Moses to pray that God’s mercy be extended to them. So, God tells Moses:
“Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived.’ [Numbers 21:8-9 (NIV)]
Jesus makes us see that this event is in fact a foreshadow of what His fate on the cross will be and what it will mean for everyone that believes. John writes: ‘Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.’ [John 3:14-15 (NIV)]
Just like the Isrealites were called to fix their gaze on the bronze snake and live, we are called to continuously fix our gaze on and contemplate Jesus on the cross, so we may have eternal life.
The Empty Tomb
‘The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here…’ [Matthew 28:5-6a (NIV) (emphasis mine)]
The empty tomb flows into the resurrection, because without no burial there won’t be a resurrection. The empty tomb points to a Jesus who has left the cross and has risen. It is the anchor on which our confidence in the resurrection rests. Ed Jarrett writes ‘The empty tomb demonstrates that death is not the end of the journey. There is much more to come.’ In the immediate sense, ‘much more to come’ means Jesus’s resurrection and in the broader and progressive sense, it points to our life in Christ eternally. Death couldn’t hold Jesus in the grave, which shows us that we will live forever with Him.The empty tomb points to the resurrection.
Jesus did something interesting, let’s read:
‘In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.” The Jews then responded to him, “What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” ‘ [John 2:14-19 (NIV) (emphasis mine)]
Jesus explicitly says that the authority on which he stood in order to confidently clean out the temple was based on his forthcoming resurrection. Consider with me that Jesus cleaning out the temple is a typology of the work he is doing with our individual temples because of the authority he has received because of the resurrection. The resurrection makes us clean, is the wind in our sail that helps us walk in cleanliness, and is the confirmation that we will eventually do away with our current bodies and be clean forever in the presence of our God.
Paul echoes this in Colossians 3:1-5 (NIV)
‘Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.’
So, we can confidently say that without an empty tomb there is no resurrection, without a resurrection there is no saviour, without a saviour there is no Easter and without Easter, there’s no eternal life.
With this energy, let us enjoy Easter Again!
Ojodale is a young Christian man who lives in Lagos but is really not of Lagos. Weaving faith and life in Lagos is an ongoing experience for him. Though difficult, it has been rewarding. He writes on topics dear to him on Medium and occasionally for City Church.