Good Friday: Life Conquers Death

April 03, 2015 – Friday

Life Conquers Death

By FRC Senior Fellow Bob MorrisonThere is a tomb. Mary Magdalene approaches it. The others feared to go there. It is a place of death and it could mean death to be known as a follower of Jesus of Nazareth. The Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, had ordered a heavy stone to be placed at the entrance to the tomb. Let the dead bury the dead.But the stone that sealed the tomb has been removed. She looks inside and is stunned to find the tomb is empty. Then she runs to tell Peter and the disciple whom Jesus loved what she has seen. Or has not seen.

She runs. If she were filled with fear, would she run? By running, she will surely attract attention to herself. People will see. Someone may report her.

She is unafraid. She has news to share. Important news.

Mary thus becomes the first person in the world to be a witness to the fact that death has not overcome Jesus. He has overcome death.

In Mary Magdalene, we have a witness to the Risen Lord. No small part of the dignity that Christians have from that moment accorded to women comes from her breathless testimony. Jesus does not appear first to the disciples. He appears instead to faithful Mary.

Just three days earlier, on that fateful, fatal Friday, Jesus was stripped of his robes. The mob mocked him and spat upon him. They placed a crown of thorns on his head. Some king, this Jesus! Is this your King of the Jews?

Hauled before the Roman Governor, Pontius Pilate, Jesus fears not. Pilate is afraid. The mob that is screaming for Jesus’ blood may turn against Pilate. The leaders of the mob threaten Pilate. “Remember Caesar,” they tell him.

Pilate understands their threat; if he does not give them what they want, and if things get out of hand in Roman Palestine, it is he, Pilate, who will be blamed. He may be the one who pays with his life. He has reason to fear.

He orders Jesus to be scourged.  So severe was flogging in those times that many a victim died under the lash.

But not this Jesus. He survived to stagger His way to the place of the skull, called Golgotha. Today the road is known as the Via Dolorosa, or Way of Suffering.

There is a great outcry today for an easeful death. Lawmakers and advocates are promising to help us go gentle into that good night. They will give us death with dignity.

There could have been nothing of dignity in death on a cross. It was meant to be torture and humiliation. It was made terrible to instill fear.

That is why the Roman roads were lined with crosses, and with dying men nailed on those crosses. Oderint dum metuant was the Romans’ byword: Let them hate, so long as they fear.

Jesus was not afraid of them. He stood unflinching before Pontius Pilate. When Pilate reminds Jesus he holds the power of life and death, Jesus answers with the dignity of a King. “You would have no power over me unless it were given to you from above.” Even at the moment of His great peril, Jesus acknowledges first His Father in Heaven.

Warily, Pilate yields to the mob and orders the innocent One to be crucified. He writes on a placard that will be displayed on Jesus’ cross:

Jesus of Nazareth
King of the Jews

Not satisfied with Jesus’ blood, the leaders of the crowd demand that Pilate change what he has written. “NO! Write this man said he was King of the Jews.”

Wearily, Pilate waves them away. “What I have written, I have written.”

We have had in our own day much experience of governors fearing. Too often, they listen to the howling mobs. Too often, they remember Caesar and forget God.

At home we are supposed to fear losing jobs, advancement, retirement, investments. Abroad, we are taught to fear our airplane being hijacked and flown into a building, or maybe even a mountain.

Fear dominates the headlines; it must not dominate our heads. We are supposed to fear losing those, too. Those twenty-one Coptic Christians lost their heads but they did not lose their souls.

“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul,” Jesus said: “Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”

Powers and principalities may menace us. But the eternal message of Easter is of life prevailing over death. His perfect love casts out fear. He who conquered death promised us an abundant life. Let’s live it.

He is risen. He is risen, indeed!

Hat Tip: Family Research Council

*******

How To Know God Personally [Click on link to discover the principles!]

What does it take to begin a relationship with God? Devote yourself to unselfish religious deeds? Become a better person so that God will accept you?

You may be surprised that none of those things will work. But God has made it very clear in the Bible how we can know Him.

The following principles will explain how you can personally begin a relationship with God, right now, through Jesus Christ…

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