Salisbury Post- March 26, 2016
Many- maybe even most- of my childhood photos were taken on Easter. I can tell it was Easter because my siblings and I were dressed up, holding egg-filled Easter baskets, and standing in the cemetery. (Yes, I wonder about the cemetery part, as well.) There were so many beautiful flowers, the bell tower was chiming, there was a lovely fountain, and many other families were there with cameras, so I’m thinking it was the place to be.
These photos created simple childhood memories, but over time had profound meaning for me. I came to realize there was an AMAZING truth there that I love: It was not in the dressy clothes, the eggs, or the basket, but the truth was in the cemetery- Yes, the truth that we have victory over death because of the sacrifice Jesus made for us! That kind of truth taking up residence in your heart is a truth that you can’t get over!
How could anyone get over the greatest story ever told? How could we get over the most important event in the history of the world? The event that gave us victory over death!
Here are some of my favorite parts of this AMAZING story, followed by an AMAZING ‘truth I love’ from each:
ANGUISH: What must it have been like for Jesus to anguish in prayer in the garden of Gethsemane, going a little farther, falling on His face, His sweat like great drops of blood falling to the ground, praying and asking His Father to take this cup from Him? *An AMAZING truth I love: What happened when Jesus prayed? An angel appeared from heaven strengthening Him. Yes, when we pray, we are strengthened by angels from heaven.
ACCEPTANCE: During the time of Jesus’ trial, on three separate occasions Peter denied that he even knew Jesus. But… when Mary Magdelene and Mary found the tomb empty, the angel specifically told them to tell Peter that Jesus was risen. *An AMAZING truth I love: We have a Savior who accepts and forgives us. He is our God of second chances. Peter denied Jesus, but Jesus did not deny Peter.
ACCUSED: Jesus was falsely accused. Pilate could find no fault in Him, but he chose to wash his hands of the situation. The crowd cried, “Crucify Him!” The crowd cried for Barabbas, a notable prisoner, to be released to a new life. *An AMAZING truth I love: Pilate didn’t set Barabbas free. The crowd didn’t set Barabbas free. Jesus set Barabbas free! Jesus knew He was there to complete the work God sent Him to do.
AGONY: Jesus was scourged, which involved using a whip with balls of lead tied to leather thongs to tear into His body. A crown of thorns was used to mock Him and was driven into His scalp. While in agony, He had to bear the heavy weight of the cross. Five to seven inch spikes were driven into His hands and feet. On the cross, His body pulled down on His outstretched arms and shoulders, intensifying the pain. *An AMAZING truth I love: Jesus willingly bore the weight of the world on His shoulders, as He carried all our sins- past and present.
ASSURANCE: As He was placed on the cross, Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” As the thief on the cross beside Jesus was dying, he said, “Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom,” which was followed by Jesus responding, “Today, you will be with me in paradise.” *An AMAZING truth I love: Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! I’m forgiven! He will remember me! As I leave this world, I will be with Jesus forever.
ARISEN: Mary Magdelene and Mary came to the tomb and found that it was empty. The stone was rolled away. Jesus was not there. He was risen! *An AMAZING truth I love: The grave no longer has a hold on us! Yes, He conquered the grave and covered our sin!
It really is amazing….