Jesus knew of His upcoming arrest. On the road to Jerusalem He was knowingly walking into a death trap. Still, He kept on walking; His mind was made up. Approaching the city gates, Jesus addressed the crowd with the following words (Luke 9:24):
“For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.”
We are invited to follow the footsteps of Jesus; following Him, we relinquish all self-defense. God will always come through for us – but He will save us His way.
Israel was part of the Roman Empire in Jesus’s time. True to His own word, Jesus willingly surrendered when He was arrested by the Roman authorities. Rome’s punishment was a painful and public death by crucifixion. Crucifixion was a method of capital punishment until about the 4th century CE, in which victims were nailed to a large wooden beam and left to die. Along with two criminals who were executed with Him, Jesus died a slow and painful death on the cross.
After His death, family and friends were granted permission to take Jesus off the cross. Someone had offered his grave site for proper burial, and so Jesus was laid in a rich man’s tomb.
On the third day after His execution, two women went to visit the tomb in the early morning hours, when they were surprised by a violent earthquake. Like a flash of lightning, an angel of the Lord appeared. Without hesitation he rolled back the tombstone and sat on it. To his shocked audience the angel proclaimed (Matthew 28:5-6):
“The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.’”
Christ is risen – Praise God, He is risen indeed! He was the first to rise so we too could have eternal life. Jesus died so we can live. Finding the Lord is finding life. Our Father in heaven believes in us – so much so that He bet His Son’s life on it and poured out His Spirit all over the earth. God shows us the way home; our homecoming happens thanks to enduring faith: God believes in us and we believe in God.