By Dr. Foster H. Shannon
This coming Sunday we celebrate Easter, the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is absolutely the most significant event in the history of the world. Jesus purposefully allowed himself to be taken to the cross, because there the Son of God suffered the punishment of God the Father for the sins of the world. He suffered for every person who will come to him in faith and confess their need of his forgiveness—without which no one can be saved. There are those who question the reliability and dependability of Christianity. The resurrection, the deliverance from death of our Lord, guarantees the reality and certainty of Christ.
When Jesus was with his disciples on that Thursday night, he prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane,
“My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.” (Matthew 26:39)
He chose his path to the cross, because he knew that there he would make our forgiveness possible. The resurrection was and is a reality. It is not just something that we wish were true. It is true.
Jesus suffered terribly from the abuses of the soldiers. He was arrested and taken before Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor. Pilate understood what Jesus enemies were about. He knew that Jesus was innocent, but he lacked the courage to do what was right. So he gave in to the crowd that demanded Jesus’ death, and ordered the crucifixion of Jesus. He was taken to Golgotha, and nailed to a cross. The cross was set into the ground, and he was bleeding from the nails in his hands and in his feet. Later, to advance his death, a sword was plunged into his side.
“But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water.” (John 19:24) “And Jesus cried out with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.” (Matthew 27:50)
A large crowd witnessed all of these events.
Joseph of Arimathea, a member of the Sanhedrin and a righteous man, asked Pilate for the body of Christ that he might prepare him for burial.
“And Pilate wondered if he were already dead; and summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he was already dead. And when he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the body to Joseph.”
He was buried by Joseph of Arimathea, with the assistance of Nicodemus.
Let us reflect. We know that Jesus lived. We know that Jesus died. We know that he was raised from the dead, and that he was with his disciples for forty days after his resurrection, and that he ascended to heaven. We know the many promises in scripture that he will return to this world. The world will be redeemed, and there will be a new heaven and a new earth.
Perhaps it is evident that there would be no Christianity, no church, no hope, were it not for Jesus Christ. The transformation of the disciples after the resurrection of Jesus; the rapid growth and development of the church would have been absolutely impossible without the resurrection. Let us be renewed and refreshed in the good news of the resurrection of our Savior. HE IS RISEN!