Cross and tomb go together in the Christian gospel: both were occupied for a short span, both abandoned, both defeated.
The apostle Paul, who knew what it was to suffer for choosing to be associated with Jesus, said, “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death” (Phil. 3:10). Paul wrote this at a time when he was in prison and anticipated that he would have his final trial and execution at any time. What helped him hold things together, and hold the meaning of it all together, is that when we are torn to pieces by enemies, we are known and can know the Lord who is also crushed by his enemies. But on the other side of the apparent defeat is the victory of resurrection.
This applies not just to apostles or to Christians about to be martyred, but to every believer who feels that life gets too shredded. Evil seems stronger than it should. Things in life are just getting broken up.
There is no greater promise that God can put the pieces of our lives back together than the resurrection of Jesus. We all know that at the moment of death, a body begins to break down. But Jesus’ body did not go through that corruption. The resurrection of Jesus is the greatest miracle, not because it was so difficult. (Isn’t the creation of the universe a larger physical feat? Isn’t the conception of human life from two single seeds from mother and father a more amazing biological event?) Jesus got up and walked out of his tomb more easily than I got out of bed this morning.
No, the resurrection of Jesus is the greatest miracle because it signifies the greatest truth. The law of entropy, of things falling to pieces, is switched off in the resurrection of Jesus. He would not become dust, and so he proclaimed to us dust creatures that our lives do not need to fall to pieces. The power by which Jesus was raised from the dead brings marriages together, holds us together despite our diverse roles in life, and stops sin from taking us apart like a vicious virus attacking a body.
The Christian gospel says, consider the cross and take courage from the empty tomb. Cross and tomb work together. One is incomplete without the other. If Jesus had only died a martyr for a cause, but not been resurrected, then we might gain inspiration, but not salvation. If Jesus had been brought back to life, but after having died of natural causes, he would only be an example of miraculous resuscitation, not transformation. But he died a death of salvation, and rose from the dead in a transfigured body.
Cross and tomb-vanquished.
This wonderful outreach ministry is another great sermon I found on one of my favorite and most visited sites;
“Have a blessed day, I am.”
A. T. S .