Last night in prayer group, Kweeta mentioned something about Satan not being able to keep Jesus dead. That there was no way for Satan to win. And a thought struck me: because there was no way for Satan to win, he couldn’t have kept Jesus from dying, either. Jesus was going to die. He was going to pay our penalty. He was not going to stay dead. He was going to be our Savior. Nothing Satan could do could undo God’s divine plan. I’m not sure if that makes sense to anyone but me, but I love that Satan couldn’t keep Jesus from dying for us. He couldn’t taunt Christ off the cross.
Every Easter, I’m struck anew by God’s amazing love story to us. The older I get, the more wondrous it becomes. Because I’m more intimately aware of all my downfalls, my purposeful perversities, my sinful desires, how far I am from God’s perfection. The bafflement from the question “Why would the God of the universe choose to die such a horrific gruesome death for ME?” is only topped by its answer, “Because He loves me.” How can I possibly comprehend that kind of love? That totally unmerited favor?
I’m struck by how it must have seemed in the moment.
From the Garden, a Savior was promised. As the years went by, the prophecies became more specific, to a more specific people. After a while, the promises were no longer just concerning our spiritual salvation but the redemption of the world: an establishment of perfect world order. When the Jews were enslaved, that was the part of the promise they clung to, that grew larger than life, the part that seemed the most necessary.
Then the Messiah appears. It’s almost too good to be true, especially since this is the worst oppression Israel has ever faced. It’s too good to be true, because this isn’t even a king, He has no army, and He’s an unknown. But people were willing to deal with that, because He had power. Not just over the elements, but demons and even death itself. That was enough for the disciples. They knew He didn’t need an army. He had God on His side.
And then the Transfiguration. Two disciples got a glimpse of Christ’s true glory. They saw the future: a glorified King, coming to rule and reign over the whole world. One who would set things right. Heal the sick, feed the hungry, punish the wicked, reward the faithful few. This was exactly everything the disciples wanted.
But then there was the betrayal, the crucifixion: their one Hope nailed to a cross, belittled, destroyed, forsaken seemingly by God Himself. Even Christ called out to His Father, bemoaning the fact that His face was turned. How could this be their Savior? He didn’t even take use of the multitude of angels at His disposal. After hours of torture, He simply “gave up the ghost”, and died.
What happened next should have been a sign-post: if not of a coming Kingdom, of something supernatural. Because there was an earthquake. The veil in the temple (yes, that massive, impressive, weighty piece of tapestry) was ripped in half from complete top to bottom.
Even more astonishing? People, who had been dead and buried in tombs came to life again and started testifying to their family members.
Dead people came back to life.
But the disciples were too destroyed to notice. And so terrified of what the Roman officials might do, that they couldn’t concentrate anyway.
So here’s my favorite part: The tomb is empty. The women have gone back to finish attending to the body, to pay last respects, something. And the tomb is blatantly empty and graveclothes are folded and what is going on. And Mary, tears blurring her vision is searching desperately for Jesus. How dare someone steal a body? This is the part that gives me chills: when she questions the “gardener”, he simply answers by saying her name. And with a lightning flash she understands. I cannot imagine the euphoria, the amazing, genuine joy that must have erupted as she realized that everything that they had hoped and dreamed and prayed for was real.
God had come.
And the salvation He promised was so much greater than just from the Roman Empire. He promised freedom from sin, death, guilt, Satan. He promised eternal, intimate fellowship with Himself. He promised that nothing would ever make Him love us less.
So many songs, so many wonderful words and I can’t even begin to express how much they mean to me. Because my Savior lives. He chose to rescue me from the miry clay. He sealed His promises with His resurrection.
How can I not give Him my life and all?