“[Jesus] was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. … In addition, some of our women … went to the tomb early this morning but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive.” (Luke 24:19-23)
Nobody likes to seem weak or ignorant – especially men. In general, men seem to think they should know the answers, fix the broken things, and be in control of situations. That’s why it’s a little painful to see these two men revealing their weakness in a way few men do, by admitting their ignorance. They don’t know what to make of the seeming contradiction that Jesus was supposed to be their Savior, but instead died at the hands of his enemies; or the seeming contradiction that if he died, then how could he be alive? Nothing made sense. That’s why they were in need of some resurrection education.
Then again, we know that pain, don’t we? We know the anguish of not knowing the answers, not being in control, things not making sense. But we also know Jesus, and in him we find strength and certainty. With Jesus we have a Lord who has a plan for everything to fall into place, in line with his will. We know God placed all things under his feet and made him head of all. We know there will come a time when it all makes sense.
And when it comes to the biggest question of all, “Why do I have to die?” Jesus assures us it is not for our sins. He died for all of our sins; so God cannot punish us again for sin that has already been paid for. Now death is not the retribution for our sins, but simply the way by which we are released from this sinful world to the bliss in heaven. At death we will be able to set aside the cross of suffering we have carried on earth to take up the crown of glory Jesus had always had in store for us in heaven. Oh, how this resurrection education strengthens us when we are weak!
Ascension Service will be held on Thursday, May 25 at 7:00 p.m.