The cross. Two heavy wooden beams shouldered by the man of sorrows. It pressed hard upon His back; a back the soldiers had already lashed into an open wound. It was nothing compared to the burden He was about to bear, but it brought Him to His knees.
It was His choice to do it, but it was a choice that caused Him to sweat blood as He prayed in the garden. He had made His decision; He would drink the cup that caused Him so much dread. If this cup were visible, its sight would have caused our hearts to stop, our stomachs to turn, and our strength to vanish. It was a mixture of every dark deed we, as His people, would ever commit. It also included every foul emotion, every impure motive, and every heart’s desire for evil we could not fulfill. If you have ever felt the weight of sin, you know it can break your heart and darken the soul, and because worldly lust still clouds our conscience, we have never felt it to its full degree. It is crushing.
Not only were every one of our sins in that cup, but it also included everything they deserved. The cup contained distress, depression, and despair. It included desolation, disease, and death. That cup was the perfect wrath of an all-knowing, all-powerful God of righteousness. What we saw in the bodily suffering of Jesus was only the surface, and He drank the cup until it was dry.
At that moment, life left His body. His chest stopped moving, His tongue lay still, and His eyes went cold. The enemy of death had taken Him. He was supposed to be our Savior, but He was dead. The wages of sin had taken the sinless one who was supposed to set us free. They wrapped His body, laid Him in a tomb, and covered it with a stone. Our hope had died. He had borne the brunt of our sins, and it had killed Him.
Then something happened on the morning of the third day. Though it occurred in the dark of the tomb, a light came back into his eyes. Breath filled his lungs, and all his wounds healed. The stone rolled away, and He rose to his feet. He lives, never to die again. Death had not defeated Him. He bore our wrath, and it had not overcome Him. He had conquered it. The bonds of death could not hold him!
In the resurrection, we have confirmation that His redeeming work was complete. He was a hostage to our debt, and now He had paid it in full. He died for our sins and rose for our justification. Death could not hold Him because He had laid His life down of His own will; no one could demand it from Him. He could lay it down, and He could take it up again.
Since the bonds of death cannot hold Him, neither can they hold anyone who belongs to Him. The dead can live again. Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord Jesus in faith will be saved. Child of God, what is it that brings you down? Is it sin, guilt, failure, shame, condemnation, accusation, or a body experiencing death? Whatever it is, it will find its defeat in Jesus Christ.
He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords! He has risen, and He is alive!
“I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” – Jesus (John 11:25-26)