Summary: Jesus rises triumphantly from the grave
Well, we’ve come to the end of the Book. We’ve covered a lot of ground in the last few months and looked at the story of this man: Jesus Christ. We’ve looked at His birth; we’ve looked at the beginnings of His ministry. We’ve looked at the authority that He had over nature, calming the sea and walking on water. We’ve seen the authority that He had over the body by healing all who came to Him, the deaf, the Blind, the leper, the cripple. He drove out demons with a word and resisted direct attacks and temptations by Satan, showing authority that was unequaled by any human over the spiritual realms. We’ve looked at the authority that he had over death, raising a young girl and his friend Lazarus from the grave. We’ve looked at His teachings, as He stood on the side of mountain and amazed the people with His words that showed an authority beyond the established religion and the manmade rules and laws that had governed the Jews to that point. We saw Him feed 5000, we saw Him bless the children, he taught a new way of love and heart change, he stood up to the Pharisees, he ate with tax collectors and sinners. We’ve heard the parables and seen how he fulfilled every Messianic prophecy concerning His birth and ministry and death.
And then last week we looked at why He had truly come, the darkest day in the history of the world. Literally and figuratively. Darkness came over the land from the sixth hour until the ninth hour or from about noon to three PM. The Earth itself was mourning and protesting the death of its Creator and you have the great symbolism of the light of the world being extinguished and the world being plunged into darkness. So, literally, it was a dark day. But it was also a dark day for the disciples and for the early followers of Christ. All that they had sacrificed, all that they had lived for, all that they had believed was seemingly gone. They had identified themselves with this man, whom they were convinced was the Messiah, only to see Him die in the worst possible way. And it wasn’t just that He had died, but He had gone down without a fight. He hadn’t even defended Himself! If He was the Son of God, why didn’t He flex His muscles, why didn’t He show His authority? They had seen Him do it before. They took this death as a sign that He was not who He had claimed to be and all of them had fled and abandoned Christ and turned away whether by their words, like Peter, or their actions. They thought it was over. Think about it. Jesus spent much of His last days teaching these men that this would happen. He taught them that He would suffer, He taught them that He would die, but He always linked it with a triumphal resurrection. He always included that He would rise from the grave and that He would be the conquering Son of God who would provide victory!
MK 8:31 He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. 32 He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.
Jesus had made sure that His disciples would be ready. But because of the way that He died, the disciples lost hope. All of that talk of rebuilding the temple in three days was thrown out the window. They forgot what it was that Christ had taught them. Remember, these are the men that God chose to change the world through, these are the men who knew Jesus better than any other men on Earth, these were the ones who had been taught and trained and invested in for three years, and yet they were so sure of defeat that they couldn’t see the Light at the end of the tunnel and they went away to pout and to regroup and to mourn the way that it had ended.
My sophomore year at Nyack, I remember sitting with a bunch of the guys in the men’s dorm and watching the NCAA basketball tournament on TV. Syracuse was playing Georgia and they had played a pretty good game but down the stretch everything went wrong. They were down 8 points with under a minute to play and in my frustration, I left and went back to my room. I thought the game was over and being a huge Syracuse fan who had very high expectations of this team, I was incredibly disappointed that things weren’t going to turn out the way I had expected them to. I basically went upstairs to pout. As I was upstairs, I missed one of the greatest endings to any college basketball game ever. Syracuse hit two threes and then a fade away at the buzzer to send it into overtime. In OT they went down one with a few seconds left, their guards couldn’t get the ball and John Wallace, who was a 6-10 forward was forced to dribble all the way up the court. This was the last guy you wanted dribbling! With two men in his face, he threw up a running three pointer at the buzzer that dropped cleanly through the net. Someone ran up the stairs and told me that they won, I didn’t believe them. I was so sure that it was over, I was already looking at next year and what their chances would be. They had snatched victory from what everyone figured was a sure defeat. There were some who were faithful and stuck with them and there were others like me who gave up when it seemed hopeless.