Today is Easter.
It looked like everyone had made a horrible mistake. An entire group of Jews had moved on from their traditions and beliefs and backed a guy named Jesus who they thought was the messiah. The guy they thought would lead them to throw off the shackles of Rome, the guy they thought would ascend to the throne of King David and lead them to glory, the guy who had saved so many others but could not save himself. How had things gone so wrong?
All the signs were there: fulfilled prophecy, healed people, demons cast out and a man who spoke with an authority like no other before Him. But the Pharisees, working with the Romans, put an end to all of that. A kangaroo court found Jesus guilty of blasphemy against God and crimes against Rome and the Romans settled the entire affair in their thorough and effective fashion, crucifixion.
Nothing says, “Don’t mess with Rome,” like crucifixion. Crucifixion was a very public way of making sure everyone understood what would happen if you stepped out of line. Even in crucifixion it seemed that Jesus fulfilled prophecy, there was darkness, the veil of the temple was torn in half, the dead walked the streets of Jerusalem and, when the soldiers attempted to break Jesus’ legs to hasten his death they found him already dead. The soldier proved it by piercing his side with a spear and blood and water came out of Jesus’ chest. He had died the horrible death of crucifixion, drowning in the fluids of his own body. One of the soldiers witnessing the event said, “Surely, this was the Son of God.” No matter, Jesus was now dead. How had things gone so wrong?
The Romans were in a hurry to end his life and take him down from the cross because Jewish tradition demanded that he be buried before sundown and the beginning of the Passover. He was buried in a hurry, in a borrowed tomb, his body not even completely prepared for burial. How had things gone so wrong?
On the dawn of Sunday, the first day of the week, the third day of Jesus’ death, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary traveled to the borrowed tomb to finish the preparation of Jesus’ body when there was a great earthquake on their way to the tomb. What else could go wrong? That’s where we pick up the story in the book of Matthew:
2 And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. 3 His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: 4 And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. 5 And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. 6 He is not here: for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. 7 And go quickly, and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead; and, behold, He goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see Him: lo, I have told you. 8 And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring His disciples word.
9 And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held Him by the feet, and worshipped him. 10 Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell My brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see Me.
I’m sure that as these events unfolded that Satan was watching these events saying, “How had things gone so wrong?” It looked like Satan had won, after waiting down through the ages he had thwarted God’s plan to redeem mankind but, just as Jesus promised, He arose on the third day with victory and all power. When we are tried and tested just remember Jesus rose from the grave. When Satan and the world would tell you happiness is not possible just remember Jesus rose from the grave. When you feel like all hope is gone, that your life is a wreck, that there is no way for you to redeem yourself, Jesus rose from the grave.
You have hope in Him. We talk about dreams coming true and wishes being granted but I always point out that God has something greater than magic and wishes, faith and hope. With faith and hope we can receive salvation through the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Whose power was proven in His resurrection.
If you are at Walt Disney World this Easter, then you are at the most magical place on Earth. WDW is about a wonderful a place as man can come up with but God has a home for us in Heaven that for which there exists no comparison on Earth.
Today is Easter.
Remember, your best excuse is always: waiting for your dreams to come true.