The Triumph of the Cross

The angle said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; He has risen, just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay. Then go quickly and tell His disciple...."

Matthew 28: 5-7

Imagine the women at the tomb as they discover the dead Jesus is really the living Jesus. Babbling excitedly, they rush to report that news to the apostles. Understandably, the apostles are dumbfounded by their incoherent chatter and are skeptical of their report. Then Jesus, every whit alive, walks in on the disciples. They are gripped by the terror that springs from the realm of the supernatural. Two or three of them probably pinch themselves to be sure they are awake. Suddenly, like a radiant burst of glory, the same truth dawns on them that had come earlier to those excited women. It is true! Jesus is alive! "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith" (1 Corinthians 15:14). The resurrection is an absolute essential of our faith. It is the outstanding, unique factor of Christianity. If Christ is dead, what real improvement is Christianity over a score of lofty philosophies?

Either Christ has risen from the grave, or we are fools for believing so. But we may find the Lord's return to life "Unbelievable." It is beyond our scientific understanding, it is not biological. It is illogical and cannot be proven objectively. It is for these reasons that many have shelved the resurrection in the children's section of fantasies, make-believe, and talks of the Brothers Grimm, where the dead prince is brought back to life and "They all lived happily ever after." It was hard for the disciples to accept the resurrection; they were too close to it. It was impossible for them to stand back from a distance of 20 centuries and view it objectively as we do. But accept it

they did! In truth, nearly all of them were later martyred rather than say it did not happen. Men will sometimes tell lies, but they will not die for those lies. Each of these men died still clinging to the "Unbelievable" transcendent truth that Jesus had risen from the dead. As surely as Pontius Pilate was real historical figure, so was Jesus of Nazareth. As surely as His death on the cross really happened, so did the resurrection become its joyous outcome.

We who believe must regain the lost imperative of lifting up the resurrection as central to Christians teaching. In contrasting the importance of cross and the resurrection, we need to remind ourselves that Christ was dead for only three days, but He has been alive for almost 2,000 years. We need to recall to consciousness that His return from the grave is the all-important victory philosophies and religions. We must also cease this business of talking as though His return to life was only the momentary outcome of the cross. This cannot be accomplished so long as we speak of the resurrection is not a thing of the past and therefore can neither be forgotten nor taken for granted. It is continuous, right down to the present. At this very moment Jesus is living. His life extends across time from the

Caesars to Space Age. Indeed, His life is the blessed incarnate life of eternity. The resurrection is the recurrent theme in the symphony of the centuries, the golden thread woven into the fabric of time itself.

 The resurrection offers all of us in every generation the same assurance: Jesus is alive. Death is not a threat to genuine life. It is but a paper tiger that is no longer free to terrorize us once we know the truth about the outcome of the cross. Death is bout a temporary inconvenience that separates our smaller living from our greater being. The earth quaked, the rocks split and Jesus walked out of the tomb. His very footfalls made hell tremble and shook the cosmos. Through the mist of that long-ago morning moved a cluster of women whose tear-stained faces glinted sliver with unfulfilled promises. Soon those same women returned to report a phrase that ricocheted in triumph through the lonely canyons of human existence: "He is risen!" So, when the unborn sin of any Easter mooring shoots its shafts of promise through the east, let us remember that God is ever there to restore our crushed hopes and our lifeless existence. Because Jesus is alive and will reign forever, we who believe in Him will overcome death. Hallelujah! Calvin Miller But Christ has indeed been raised from the deed, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.

Corinthians 15:20

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Last Update: Feb 2001