Belt of Truth
Knowing and Applying God's Truth to Real Life
rMatthew 28:1-8 (NKJV) Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone from the door and sat on it. His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. And the guards shook for fear of him and became like dead men. But the angel answered and said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you." So, they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy and ran to bring His disciples word.
If I was to write a resume for Jesus, I would start with two incredible events that sets Jesus apart from every other person who has ever graced the face of planet earth. Jesus was impossibly born of a virgin; and He topped that by conquering death. It’s mind-blowing, Jesus was crucified, buried in a tomb and then, just as He had prophesied, He somehow overcame death and was alive again!
King David spoke about the specter of death; about the danger posed by the enemies that sought his demise. He concluded that the Lord, his God had the power to grant life. He rejoiced and declared, “I cried out to you, O LORD. I begged the Lord for mercy, saying, “What will you gain if I die, if I sink into the grave? Can my dust praise you? Can it tell of your faithfulness? Hear me, LORD, and have mercy on me. Help me, O LORD.” You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever!” Psalm 30:8-12
Jesus surprised His followers. They visited the site of His tomb. They found that the giant stone had been rolled away, and that the tomb was filled with empty grave clothes. Jesus’ demise had been greatly exaggerated. He wasn’t “ashes to ashes and dust to dust.” He was the victor; the champion; the Savior; the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the everlasting God! He could not be defeated. He could not be destroyed. He could not be set-back. He could not be deterred. But, He could win. It was indeed a victory over death, sin and the grave. But, Jesus did not win this incredible victory for Himself alone; it was a victory for everyone who would Believe and Confess that Jesus is Lord! To this day, we share in the joy of that first Easter, when the disciples heard the good news, “Jesus is alive!”
Luke 23:33-43 (NKJV) And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do." And they divided His garments and cast lots. And the people stood looking on. But even the rulers with them sneered, saying, "He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ, the chosen of God." The soldiers also mocked Him, coming and offering Him sour wine, and saying, "If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself." And an inscription also was written over Him in letters of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS. Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, "If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us." But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, "Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong." Then he said to Jesus, "Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom." And Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise."
Extraordinary is an Over Used Word. Too often we claim that an event or an accomplishment is extraordinary when it is truly anything but. To reach the heights of “extraordinary” whatever it is must be (let’s use some synonyms) remarkable, exceptional, amazing astonishing, astounding, sensational, stunning, incredible, unbelievable and phenomenal. While suspended between the heaven and earth; atoning for the sins of mankind, Jesus did something extraordinary; He ministered to a condemned criminal.
It was a remarkable unselfish act of putting the needs of someone else before His own. Jesus' pain was close to unbearable. He was struggling to breath. He was finding it difficult to maintain His composure and the crowd observed and delighted in His demise. Jesus’ humiliation before His enemies was complete. A good man, a sinless man, an innocent man, Almighty God in the flesh was suffering; His life slipping away as He bled. In the midst of it all Jesus had compassion on a guilty man and in that moment, He extended the ministry of reconciliation. “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
Christ’s Public Ministry was now Complete. Mere moments passed, and Jesus cried out, “It is finished,” bowed His head and gave up the ghost. Jesus, indeed, came to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many. Jesus didn’t just talk—He walked the talk. He led by example. He lived love. His life can be summed up in this word…Extraordinary!
As revealed by God through the Life and Message of Christ; through the wisdom of Solomon; through the letters of the Apostles; through the inspiration of God.