CRIME SCENE WITH A DIFFERENCE!
"After they had done everything the prophets said they would do, they took Him down from the cross and buried Him. And then God raised Him from death. There is no disputing that -- He appeared over and over again many times and places to those who had known Him well in the Galilean years, and these same people continue to give witness that He is alive.
"And we're here today bringing you good news: the Message that what God promised the fathers has come true for the children -- for us! He raised Jesus exactly as He described in the second psalm.
"My Son! My very own Son! Today I celebrate You!"
"When He raised Him from the dead, He did it for good -- no going back on that rot and decay for Him. That's why Isaiah said, 'I'll give to all of you David's guaranteed blessings.' So also the psalmist's prayer: 'You'll never let your Holy One see death's rot and decay.'" Acts 13:29-35 (The Message).
This was a crime scene in reverse. Forensic science is so advanced that it is possible to prove that a murder had taken place without the evidence of a body. Jesus, on the other hand, was put to death in a public place. There were many witnesses to His murder and His burial place was known and even guarded by a platoon of Roman soldiers.
There was no need to cover up the heinous deed and no scheme to hide His body. His murderers needed to make sure that the body stayed where it was and that everyone knew it was there to prove that He was well and truly dead. He said He would walk out of the tomb and they did everything they could to prevent that from happening.
But He did the unthinkable. He walked out of the tomb and turned up among His friends to show them that He was alive. Has any other murder victim ever done that? Has any other religious icon ever done that? God Himself put His stamp of approval on Jesus by raising Him from death into an incorruptible and indestructible new body and by owning His as His Son.
All the characters in this great drama had inadvertently played their part to perfection, guaranteeing that God's plan would come together just as He said it would. No amount of effort to cover up Jesus' resurrection could disprove the fact. Their own prophets had accurately predicted it would happen and not just one -- the same event was predicted by many different people across the centuries.
No elaborate cover-up schemes worked because Jesus walked out of a sealed and guarded tomb. No one can outwit God! His new resurrection body was not subject to earthly barriers. He moved in and out of locked rooms like a spirit and yet His disciples could see and touch Him and He even ate in their presence. No ghost can make a fire and cook breakfast on the shore of the Galilean lake.
Paul himself had encountered this Jesus in a blinding flash of light on the road outside Damascus. He had heard His voice and been transformed in an instant from a vicious persecutor to a humble servant who was willing to lay down his life for Him.
All in all, the proof of His resurrection was overwhelming but what was the point of it all? For God to come to earth in human form, to live as a human being for thirty three years and then to die as a felon for crimes He did not commit, is incomprehensible except for a very good reason.. The death penalty He had spoken over the human race because of our forefather's rebellion, was carried out on Him and yet He was innocent of the crime for which He was paying.
This was really good news! Now every criminal -- that's us -- can go free because our debt has been paid. And God can receive us back into His family as His sons and daughters if we accept His free gift of forgiveness and become reconciled to the Father.
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