For the last few months, as a staff team, we have been studying the book of Exodus. It’s been a interesting journey as we’ve explored familiar passages but frequently seen them in a new light. I was particularly struck a couple of weeks ago, as we discussed the Passover, of how dark and frightening that day must have been for both the Hebrew and Egyptian people. This was not a time that would have a happy ending: caught up in the battle between God and Pharaoh many thousands of people suffered and grieved. As the blood was marked on the doorpost of every Hebrew home, how many Egyptians recognised the sign of both life and death? Even as the Hebrew slaves walked away from their masters they must have been shocked at just how powerful and determined God’s wrath can be.
This brings new meaning and poignancy to the Passover meal Jesus would celebrate with his disciples at their last supper together: the hope of new life bought by death. The ultimate outcome of God’s wrath will be the death of his own Son, the blood this time not on a doorpost but on a cross. Such is the determination of God to battle human sin and win people back to himself.
Many centuries later, as Christian believers today, we live in the vitality of Christ’s resurrection, each day embracing the love that comes from that bloodied cross. Unlike the very first Passover we know the certainty of a happy ending: the purest forgiveness for all mankind that we might truly come back to God’s loving arms. There is no better place to be.
The Empty Tomb: Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”
So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed.
John 20:1-8 (NIV)
As we prepare for Eastertime I am conscious that in our world today many peoples’ lives are as dark and fearful as those of the ancient Hebrew slaves. Surely we must share with them the joy of that first resurrection morning, the risen Saviour and the empty tomb. Let’s be praying that, like the disciples, they will see and believe that the firstborn Son walked from the grave so they might be free.
Hallelujah, Christ is risen indeed!
Director of National Ministries