There’s a song I don’t like very much.
It’s got some good lyrics, but the main one (and the one I have an issue with) is: “The cross has the final word.”
The cross, where Jesus was put to death instead of us. He was mocked, beaten, spit on, brutally crucified. He breathed His last on a piece of wood in the shape of a t, nails in His hands and feet. His body was broken, His blood poured out—for us.
And this means that the cross, this horrific and terrible thing, is actually great news for us, a tremendous work of God on our behalf. It canceled our debt to God (Colossians 2:14). It put to death our sinful selves (Galatians 2:20). It removed the barrier between us and God and gave us access to a relationship with Him (Matthew 27:51). It made He who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). It created peace and reconciliation between us and God (Colossians 1:20). It set us free from accusation, making us holy in the sight of the Holiest God (Colossians 1:22). It healed us (1 Peter 2:24). It is the perfect picture of God’s love (Romans 5:8).
But with just the cross, Jesus stays dead.
With just the cross, God is not greater than death.
With just the cross, I am free, holy, righteous, and reconciled to God—and what a wonderful gift that is.
But with just the cross, God’s glory is incomplete.
The story does not end there.
Graciously, blessedly, the story does not end there.
Because Jesus’ buried body breathed again. His heart started pumping again, He left that tomb, He walked among His disciples—He was raised from the dead.
And the cross may be great news for us, but even greater news is that of Jesus’ resurrection. In the resurrection, Jesus has been given all authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18). In the resurrection, Jesus took back the keys to death and hell (Revelation 1:18). In the resurrection, God has given us a living hope (1 Peter 1:3). In the resurrection, God has won the victory (1 Corinthians 15:54-57). In the resurrection, we are made alive to God (Romans 6:11).
And let’s be clear, we were dead (Ephesians 2:1). Although we were breathing with our human lungs and walking around with our human legs, our spirits were separate from God, rotting in hell for eternity. Our sin was a death sentence (Romans 6:23).
But God raised Jesus from the dead. And with Him, us. Our puny, tiny, little human selves were resurrected alongside the Lord Jesus Christ. And because He is alive, we are alive. Alive, alive, alive, in Him, through Him, for Him.
So the cross does not get the final word. The instrument of torture that put the only perfect Man to death, the symbol of God’s sacrifice, the suffering of Jesus: it does not get the final word.
No, the empty grave gets the final word. And what a word it is: the word of eternal life (John 10:28, 1 John 5:13).
Happy Easter, friends. Let us thank God today for the gift of eternal life in Jesus Christ.