March 27, 2016 | text: Luke 23:50-24:9
Is Jesus the sheep or the shepherd? A hired hand may run away if danger presents itself but a shepherd loves and cares for his sheep. Jesus described himself (John 10) as the good shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep. He had compassion for those hurting and in need and saw the multitudes of people coming to him as sheep without a shepherd. The Bible also describes him as the Lamb of God and the sacrificial lamb, similar to the Passover lamb of Exodus 12. Jesus is the Good Shepherd and also the Lamb of God that was slain. He is the bread of life and living water. He is the rock that gives water in dry places, the rose of Sharon, the Lily of the Valley, the bright morning star, the solid foundation on which the wise build and the stone the builders rejected which has become our cornerstone. All of the metaphors help us paint a portrait as we attempt to understand who and what Jesus is. He is really the Son of God that loved us when we were unlovable, lost in our sins and enemies of God. When we could not come to God he came to us, gathering those that were willing to himself. Why he would do that is mind boggling and that’s why we need the images.
The Tomb is empty. What does it mean? It means the words Jesus spoke were true. The folks watching and listening to Jesus during his earthly ministry already knew he had authority over the natural world. He had calmed the wind and waves and miraculously divided the loaves and fish. He had authority over the spiritual world, from casting out demons and evil spirits to bringing the dead back to life. Before the crucifixion Jesus said that no one could take his life from him; he had the power to lay it down and the power to take it up again. His life could not be taken – by Pilate, the Sanhedrin, the Roman army. He offered it freely as a ransom for many. And, true to his word, after laying down his life he took it up again. Jesus was not just resurrected, he is the resurrection.
Jesus has the power over life and death; Not just his own, but of all life and death. He is the Way into life everlasting. The empty tomb means that death, hell and the grave have been defeated. Paul wrote to the Corinthians on the death and resurrection of Christ and what it means for believers. In lieu of reading the entire chapter, take a look at 1 Corinthians 15:50-56
I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55 “O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Jewish leaders thought the crucifixion would be the end of their Jesus problem. What looked like the end was in reality a whole new beginning. Celebrate the resurrection!