On Friday, Jesus died on a cross. He knew pain, loneliness and death, and he was the object of complaint and hatred of others. You might have known some of those same feelings surrounding your child’s death. On Saturday, Jesus was in the tomb. His friends were stunned. They were grieving. They were sometimes together, like you and friends and family were together after your child’s death. Milling around in someone’s living room and kitchen, picking at some food someone brought in, unable to taste. Unable to sit for more than a couple minutes at a time, afraid to leave in case someone called to say it was all a mistake! Sometimes they may have been alone with their thoughts of disbelief and disappointment. You too, may have thoughts of disbelief and of disappointment. Disappointment that God, the good God you thought was in charge had let your child’s death happen. The good God whom you know can heal, didn’t heal and prevent your child’s death.
And on Saturday, God the Father was a bereaved parent, like you. I know He knew the plan, but I also know He had never ever had a moment of time when He didn’t have fellowship with His Son. He was bereft. He experienced the separation from His beloved Son, like you are experiencing the separation from your beloved child.
Then, on Sunday, HE AROSE from that tomb, back to life again. The Resurrection. The grave doesn’t win, resurrection does! That tomb is not the end of the story. This life and death are not all there is!
Jesus’ resurrection is proof there is life beyond the grave. It proves Him - the One who is risen is worthy that we trust His words and teaching. It gives us hope.
“Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him… And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.” (I Thessalonians 4:13-14, 17b,18)
It gives us hope because there is life beyond the grave and Jesus wants to give it to you. These few sentences from Paul’s letter to the Christians at Thessalonica say we are supposed to encourage each other with talk of the resurrection and of heaven. So I’m talking! Jesus died, for real. He rose again, for real. Because of that, you have real hope for each day.