The Hill of the Crosses and the Third Day
By Chuck Kelley
PHILOMATH, Oregon – Roger Von Oech wrote that “. . . life is like a maze in which you try to avoid the exit.”
The late poet, Edna St. Vincent Millay quipped, “Life must go on . . . I forget why.”
And the famous German existentialist philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche penned these profound words, “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.“
Technology has provided us with all sorts of ways to enhance how we live, but precious few are those who offer insights into why we live.
The Bible has good news for us. And that news has to do with Easter – with the Cross. Perhaps you know the story. There’s no need to prolong it. Or complicate it. Or improve it. I wish to simply summarize it for you.
Jesus predicted His own death. He said he would be “in the heart of the earth” three days and nights.
Jesus predicted His resurrection. Later he said that he would “suffer many things, be killed and raised up on the third day.”
Jesus was unjustly sentenced to death. Betrayed by Judas, he was seized, placed under arrest, rushed through seven illegal trials and declared “GUILTY” . . . first of blasphemy, then of treason.
Jesus was abandoned. Those who knew him best, left him and fled.
Jesus was tortured. Alone and forsaken, he endured the torture of scourging, the humiliation of insults and mockery and the agony of the walk to an execution hill that resembled a skull.
Jesus was crucified. The horrors of crucifixion followed, leaving him suspended, stark naked, for six excruciating hours. The last three of which were spent in eerie darkness that fell over the whole land.
Jesus carefully spoke His last words: “Father, into Thy hands I commit my spirit.”
Then . . . He died.
Jesus was buried. Two bold friends took him down from the cross, prepared his body for burial and placed it in a new garden tomb.
His tomb was guarded by Roman soldiers. Because he had predicted “. . . after three days I will rise again,” the tomb was secured by a large, circular-shaped stone. The stone was sealed and a 24 hour watch established.
The tomb was silent. Guarded and sealed, Jesus remained lifeless, untouched and unseen until the early morning hours of the third day.
He AROSE! Before dawn, a miracle occurred. Bodily. Silently. Victoriously. He came back from the dead. In resurrected form, He passed through the stone, leaving the mummy-like wrappings still intact.
His resurrection was witnessed by many. More than 500 people, many of whom were not associated with Jesus prior to that first Easter, saw him, touched him and heard him. And in the process, they were forever changed themselves.
Because Jesus has risen, death has been defeated . . . life has been given meaning.
More than any other events in human history, the Cross and the Resurrection provide the foundation to answer the most important ‘what’ and ‘why’ questions that we face in life.