Few things are more humbling than to properly place ourselves in the story of the Passion of Christ. We are among the disciples who fled after the arrest at Gethsemane. We are with Peter in the courtyard, denying our Lord. We are in the crowd, calling out, “Give us Barabbas!” We are cynically washing our hands, like Pilate. We are twisting together the crown of thorns and mocking him. We are casting lots for his garments.
Out of such humility, however, there emerges an essential truth: We could never do this for ourselves. We have no power to restore a right relationship with the holy and righteous Lord God.
We need the Cross. It is why, despite the horror of an innocent man, who was also God, betrayed, mocked, scorned, spit upon, beaten, executed, we can still call the Friday just past Good. Always it will be a solemn day, and yet a good day.
But we also need the Empty Tomb.
What extraordinary irony in that phrase! In a sense, and with apologies to grammarians, nothing was less empty than that empty tomb.
The celebration on Easter morning presents countless aspects for contemplation and rejoicing. It abounds with meaning. I’ll mention one aspect.
The Resurrection demonstrates conclusively that the sacrifice was acceptable. “It is finished,” He said. And the Risen Lord is certain proof of his Lordship, his conquest of sin and death. They are vanquished.
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Hallelujah! He is risen.