The sun peaked over the ridge of the barren hillside emitting its light to chase the darkness out of every crack and crevice. It was a new day, but it wasn’t like the countless other days that had routinely started. This day, was the third day. And it was the day that would change everything.
For some people, they were still celebrating in victory. They had silenced the one person that was getting in their way, complicating their lives, and stealing their spotlight. Through deliberate leadership action, they had ensured that the body of Jesus would stay in the tomb for at least three days. The massive stone in front of the tomb was just part one of their three-fold plan. They petitioned Pilate, the Roman governing official, to help seal Jesus in the tomb. He agreed, and he placed the Roman seal on the tomb. Anyone found guilty of breaking this seal would incur the entire wrath of the Roman Empire. He also ordered soldiers to stand outside of the tomb. Three effective layers of security to ensure that nothing happened to Jesus’ body for a span of three days.
What is the importance of three days? Two thousand years ago, the Jewish people believed that once someone’s physical body died, their spirit would hover over their body for three days. And then, the spirit would leave, and the person would officially be declared dead.
While some celebrated in victory, others were mourning the loss of their friend – their teacher – their leader. But it was that third day, while their entire world was crumbling in around them, that God’s perfect plan was revealed. Not only was Jesus not in the tomb, but He was also alive.
The Apostle Paul, writing to the church located in the ancient Greek city of Corinth, highlights the magnitude of this moment. In 1 Corinthians 15, he reminds them that the foundation of the Christian faith is the Gospel – the Good News – that Jesus died. He was buried. God raised him. And that Jesus appeared to hundreds and hundreds of people. Paul, as if he was daring the people to fact check him, makes a list of people that actually saw Jesus alive.
The Christian faith doesn’t hinge on Jesus’ miracles, even though His miracles drew massive crowds. The Christian faith doesn’t hinge on Jesus’ teaching, even though his teachings have the power to change your life. The Christian faith hinges on the Good News – the Gospel message – the third day.
The church, a gathering of people, became a catalytic movement shaping this entire world because people saw Jesus crucified and had no doubt that he was dead. And then, with their own eyes, saw him alive.
So Easter morning, as the sun creeps over the hillside invading the dark corners of your house, hold on to hope! Hope that is connected to the hundreds and hundreds of eyewitnesses that saw Jesus alive. Hope that is tethered to Jesus’ victory over death. Hope that is fueled by God’s unrelenting love and unending grace for you. Hope that is extended to all people.
You are invited to Easter at Tri County Church. For location and service times, please go towww.EASTERatTCC.com