From: T.M. Schoewe
Besides the above title, another way to look at Easter Sunday is that the Son of God “passed the test.” Women are running from the empty sepulcher full of fear and yet great joy to reach the disciples behind locked doors with the message from the Angel
“He is not here - He is risen as He said!” It is interesting to note that the rabbis’ list of people who couldn’t witness in law court included shepherds (always liars) and women (who were hysterical.) How ironic! So God reveals His son’s birth to whom of all people, the shepherds; and His resurrection to whom else, women!
And what did the women proclaim? Christ is risen, AS HE SAID. While on the cross, His enemies scoffed “He trusts in God.” They said “Let God rescue Him now if He wants Him, for He said “I am the Son of God.” So God does just that, but not on Good Friday. He does it on the third day, Easter morning. The Son had passed the testing and remained faithful. So God exalts Him and shows the world that this Son has passed the test that all others fail. And because He is risen and has passed the test, SO DO WE! You know he was delivered for our offenses and raised for our justification. That means He took our place and satisfied God’s justice, by His birth, life and suffering and death. His resurrection is a grand announcement that we have forgiveness, and where there is forgiveness there is life and salvation!
Let us never forget that Jesus was tested to the limit for us. He was tempted to have His own way, to assert His will to use His power, tempted to be casual with the truth, to tell a little white lie, and tempted to step down from the cross and to save Himself by any means. He could have lied to the high priest or lied to Pilate. And finally he was tempted to give up trust in God and to despair. But through all His agony and pain and fear of death He remained faithful. He passed the test and we have His salvation because of His perfect obedience, even unto the cross where God’s justice and love kiss one another for mankind.
So we have salvation, and so we follow like the women on that first Easter who did go and tell. So we do! We follow Him. Now because we follow, we are tempted too! Tempted to demand to have it our own way. Tempted to think we have freedom from suffering and pain. Tempted to grasp for power, to protect our safety. Tempted to lie to set loose on the truth like Peter, even to deny Him sometimes. Finally, we are tempted to save our own skin by any means; and when we have to really face death we are apt to think we are fools to trust God.
When this happens, where is help? Go to the empty tomb. He is not there! AS HE SAID, HE IS RISEN! AS HE SAID! Here is the joy the women found. It is the joy to tell that the resurrection of Jesus is our assurance that HIS WAY WORKS! No matter what obedience and faithfulness costs in pain or suffering, in the end it is worth it!
And how do we go to the empty tomb today? We can always go to the scriptures and we also can find many houses of God in our communities where you will find the empty tomb that is the altar. The Greek word “SARCOPHAGUS” refers to the rectangular vaults of stone or marble which were used for burials. Some early churches used this rectangular box to represent not only an altar for sacrifice but also to represent the empty tomb of our Lord. And so for us the altar can remind us of His sacrifice and victory over death, where we are invited to sup with Him Who has risen AS HE SAID, where He indeed gives us Himself to eat and drink in remembrance of Him, and where we receive the forgiveness which joins us with Him Who is the resurrection and the life.
And so we must always give thanks. And with angels and archangels and the whole company of heaven rise and praise His glorious name. And as those first witnesses did, from the empty tomb go and tell others. HE IS RISEN, AS HE SAID!