He is not here, for he has been raised, just as he said. Come and see the place where he was lying.
[Matt 28:6 NET]
Christ died in love for us. But if He had only died, and had not risen again, His sacrifice would not have availed for us. If He could not conquer death for himself, He could not be our Saviour. But the grave could not hold Him.
When the women came they found the stone rolled away, and the angel watcher said to them, “He is risen.” We have for a Saviour one who fought every battle that we have to fight, and was always victorious. He is able, therefore, to deliver us in any conflict.
Jesus appeared often enough after He arose to convince all His friends that He had really risen. Then He went back to heaven to receive all authority. His last act was to send out His disciples, bidding them to win all nations for Him. That was a strange commission for One who had died on a cross to give to a dozen plain peasants.
It was a stupendous claim to make for Himself, that all authority over the nations was now His. But so it was.
THE WORD OF GOD
“And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook, and the rocks were split”
Open to All
The “veil of the temple” refers to the inner curtain of the “Holy of Holies,” which resided in the center of the Old Testament temple of worship. The curtain severely restricted access to God to a privileged few. Now, the gates to God’s presence are open wide to all who would enter through the cross of Jesus Christ. God Himself tore the curtain in two, proclaiming that in Jesus’ death, the final sacrifice has been made for our sins.
“Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”
Imagine how horrified religious leaders in Jesus’ day must have become to know that no one had been allowed near the Holy of Holies and yet, somehow, the veil had been torn. Did any of them finally believe Jesus’ words, that a new way had been opened up for us to draw near to God – centered not on imperfect obedience to the commandments, but through the perfect life and now sacrifice of Jesus Christ?
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life, he who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.”
Access to God
Envision walking through that torn curtain and seeing for the first time the ark of the testimony, a wooden box overlaid inside and out with pure gold and the mercy seat, also made of pure gold with 2 golden cherubim at each end, facing one another with their wings covering the mercy seat and faces looking down. The golden table of showbread with the bread of Presence and golden utensils are also there along with the golden lampstand. Celebrate your access to God, won for you through the obedience, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We who were alienated from God, even under His wrath, have been brought near, cleansed, forgiven, and granted complete and full access into God’s favor and presence.
“This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”
Heavenly Father, thank You for receiving the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on my behalf, for tearing away the veil that kept me from You, and for granting me access to enter Your holy presence. May I fully receive Your forgiveness and mercy this Easter season. As I prepare to approach the cross on which, solely, my access is granted, may I have the confidence and full assurance to enter Your presence.
Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes, that ruin the vineyards – for our vineyard is in bloom.
[Song 2:15 NET]
How numerous the little foxes are! Little compromises with the world; disobedience to the still, small voice in little things; little indulgences of the flesh to the neglect of duty; little strokes of policy; doing evil in little things that good may come; and the beauty, and the fruitfulness of the vine are sacrificed!
~ J. Hudson Taylor ~
He Went about Doing Good
He replied, “Let us go elsewhere, into the surrounding villages, so that I can preach there too. For that is what I came out here to do.”
[Mark 1:38 NET]
Jesus went about doing good. He did not confine His blessings to single localities. He sought to reach as many souls as possible. He did not wait for people to come to Him, but carried the news to their own doors. He thus taught us by example that His Gospel is for all men, and not for any particular place or people. He taught us also that we should make the most of our lives and opportunities, scatter the blessings of grace as widely as we can, and tell as many persons as possible the good tidings of God’s love. he wants His Church to keep on preaching the gospel to the “next towns” till there is not a town left in which it has not been heard.
There are some Christians who think they are excused from prayer and meditation in secret because they are so busy. Their work presses them so in the morning that they cannot possibly get time to pray. Their cares occupy them so all day that they do not find one quiet moment to go apart with God. In the evening there are so many social or other engagements, meetings, societies, parties, or they are so tired, that prayer is crowded out. The example of Christ speaks its solemn rebuke of all such trifling. We must find time for communion with God, or God will not find time to bless us.
Jesus was in this world, for one thing, to show us a pattern of a true life. We should specially study His life as the highest example of consecrated ministry. Here we have a glimpse of the way He sought to do good. He went about, carrying into every place He could reach the blessings of His grace and love. There is something intensely inspiring in the picture which this verse gives us. He seems in eager haste to get to as many places as possible. He has the look and the movement of a man who knows He has not long to stay, and that He has a great deal to do before He goes away. He wants to miss no town, to leave no person unvisisted.
There surely is much in this stirring picture which we ought to imitate. We are here on an errand of blessing to men. We have something to give to the world, a message from the Father to deliver to His children, benedictions to scatter upon needy lives. Somewhere not very far before us waits the end. What we do we must do quickly. We should hasten on from one to another with the gifts of love, help, and comfort, which our Master has given us to scatter.