The Cross was not a thing to celebrate in the Roman world. It was above all else a symbol of death. It represented a painful death. Make no mistake, when Christ went to the Cross He felt the fullness of the pain and suffering it involved. The stripes upon His back were real; the spikes in His hands were real; the thorns upon His head were real; the strain upon His muscles was real; His death was real; and it all was for you and for me. He died that we might be forgiven our sins and restored to fellowship with our Heavenly Father. He died that we might die to sin and live for righteousness.
It is so difficult for us today, sitting in our comfortable pews two thousand years removed from this historical event to fully embrace its meaning. How can we comprehend this kind of love? Yet, we must, because until we do, we can never fully embrace the Cross and live in the newness of life Christ died to give us.
Would you shut your eyes for a moment and imagine yourself standing at the foot of the Cross? See through your mind’s eye the blood running down. Hear Him as He cries victoriously, “It is finished!” Now hear his breathing as it slowly grows shallow until He finally looses consciousness and dies. He did that for you and for me; not because we deserved it, but because He loved us with an unconditional love and He wished to transform us from a life of sin resulting in death to a life lived in righteousness resulting in eternal life.
Through the years the skeptics have attempted to debunk the account of the resurrection. They have attempted to reduce it to a myth or to water it down to be some symbolic teaching. This is not new. From the beginning there were those who attempted to disprove the resurrection. Despite the fact that there is more historical evidence to the resurrection than there is to many things we accept as historical fact, skeptics today continue to try to debunk the resurrection. As they failed then, they fail now. Make no mistake the resurrection is not an option placed before us, it is a truth that is an essential part of our faith.
Paul addressed the issue and plainly stated that without the resurrection our faith is worthless and we are still in our sins; and if our only hope is in the life of Christ we are men most to be pitied. It is the resurrection that establishes the validity of everything Christ taught about Himself. If there was not a resurrection, then we have no more reason to believe Christ than any other religious leader. It is the resurrection that sets us apart. Christ is not a dead martyr, He is a living Lord.
God does not say that we must understand the resurrection. How can we? It contradicts everything we know about life and death. He does say that we must believe it. It is a matter of faith.
After appearing before His followers for a period of forty days, it came time for Christ to return to His heavenly home. His ascension was not to be forever. A common thread throughout Christendom from the day of His departure until today has been the belief that He would return.
Whole denominations have been founded upon a particular belief concerning the timing of the return of Christ. With all the different theories and interpretations, one thing remains constant among believers. This belief is that Christ is coming again. When He does come, the agony of the Cross will be replaced with a crown of majesty and every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord of Lords, and King of Kings.
While we wait for His return it is important that each one of us live our lives in such a way as to enable us to look upon His coming with great joy and anticipation. His coming should not be a fearful time for us. Instead, it should be a time we look forward to because it will usher in a welcomed time of fellowship with our Master that we have not yet experienced.
The Cross, the Resurrection, the Ascension and the Return of our Lord are all critical parts of our faith. Would you embrace these truths this Easter, if you have not all ready do so? If you all ready believe, would you embrace His love and commit your life to His service until He calls you home or until He comes again? These are the only choices you will ever make that have eternal consequences. Do not take them lightly.