Saturday, April 19, 2014

Matthew 27:45-54 (ESV)

45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. 46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 47 And some of the bystanders, hearing it, said, “This man is calling Elijah.” 48 And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine, and put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink. 49 But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.” 50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.

51 And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. 52 The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, 53 and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. 54 When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”

When Jesus brought Lazarus back from death, showing all who could see that he was greater than death, he cried out in a loud voice. And, when Jesus gave up his life to give us eternal life, he cried out in a loud voice. Jesus is all about giving life; that is because Jesus is God.

So God is all about life too, which is why Jesus did not stay dead. Death frightens us; but to God, death is no more than a tool to fashion more life. God is all about life—more and more life. God sent Jesus, and Jesus was very clear that he came so that we could have life more abundantly. Jesus came to give us life that is greater than the life we have experienced so far. God just loves to give more life.

That is because God is life; God is pure life, pure Being. He alone has the power of being within himself. That is why he is eternal: God cannot not be! He does not owe his existence to anything; rather, all existence owes its existence to him. God is pure, fecund existence that generates all other existence. He is the source of all life.

When Jesus died on the cross, he did away with all of the things that separate us from God. Jesus paid the full price God demanded for our rebellion; he paid it for you, for me, for everyone who cries out with a loud voice “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God!”

Tomorrow we gather to remember the morning that death died! Tomorrow we gather in the name of Jesus Christ to shout with a loud voice “Alleluia. Christ is risen!”

Lord Jesus Christ, thank you for your gift of eternal life! Alleluia!