December 2, 2023


“Don’t be alarmed,” he told them. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has been resurrected! He is not here! See the place where they put him. – Mark 16:6 (HCSB)

The dramatic struggle of redemption ended on Friday when Jesus declared, “It is finished!” and then died. There was nothing left for Jesus to accomplish. His life was over and his ministry concluded. The lamb had been slain. The price had been paid. The blood of the final sacrifice had been spilt. Redemption was sealed. But that was not the end of the story.

If Satan and his legions were celebrating the execution of this Jesus of Nazareth, the party was about to come to a screeching halt. Jesus, the Son, may have concluded his mission, but the Father’s work was not over. He was about to make a statement!

Paul, the Apostle, helps us understand the role of the Father in the hours and days following the crucifixion. He tells us that Jesus “was established as the powerful Son of God by the RESURRECTION from the dead” (Romans 1:4). He makes it more personal when he tells us that “God raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power” (1 Corinthians 6:14). It was Jesus’ role to secure redemption through his sacrificial death. It was the Father’s role to raise Jesus “by His power”.

So it was that Jesus entrusted his “spirit” to the Father as he died on the cross (Luke 23:46). It was the final and ultimate act of faith. Now it was up to the Father to honor the faith of His son, and that He did on Sunday morning. The resurrection was the Father’s proof that Jesus is His son, that redemption is secure, and victory is certain. Even death is not final.

For 40 days Jesus appeared to various people at various times. Resurrection is always difficult to believe. Even after all Jesus had taught about it, the skepticism of our materialistic and carnal hearts is hard to overcome. It obscures reality and challenges the power of God in our lives and the lives of others. Like Thomas, we want to “see the mark of the nails in His hands” and put our hands “into His side”. So, it takes time for the reality to sink in and Jesus provided this time as he walked with his followers, ate with them, and allowed his simple presence to confirm what their hearts had trouble believing.

In time Jesus blessed his disciples and ascended into heaven, leaving his ministry in their fragile hands. Thus we become the recipients of both their ministry and their mission. Like Jesus, we are called to trust the Father and give our lives in a sacrificial and redemptive ministry. Like the disciples, we are called to follow Jesus to the cross and then on to resurrection.

And, like the disciples, he has not left us “as orphans” (John 14:18). The Holy Spirit of Jesus has come and is Immanuel, “God with us”, today. He empowers us, comforts us, encourages us, and counsels us. We learn about the activities of the Spirit among the early followers of Jesus in The Book of Acts, the sequel to Luke’s Gospel.

But we also continue to write the story of Jesus in our own lives and ministries today. And someday Jesus will return, for he has promised, “Yes, I am coming quickly”. And our response today, and always, will be “Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20).

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For a listing of all of the events recorded for this period, see Resurrection Events.


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