Jesus’ cross and empty tomb is full of suspense, surprise and success. Death is always bad, depressive and place of no return. But, surprisingly the day Jesus died is called GOOD Friday! All the great people who lived on the planet earth ended their lives in their tombs. Jesus Christ too made his way to the tomb, but walked out of His tomb alive, making a mockery of a huge rock that blocked the tomb, and also the seal across the tomb and the sentry who was posted there by the powerful Roman Empire. Jesus’ journey from Gethsemane via Calvary, the place of his crucifixion, to the empty tomb is the GOSPEL or the GOOD NEWS.
Gethsemane: Suspense created by Passion
Jesus told his disciples that he would be betrayed, killed and on the third day be raised to life (Luke 9.22). Despite having such clear knowledge, he struggled with it in Gethsemane to the extent of sweating drops of blood, which as per medical science would be called hematidrosis, a condition caused by extreme stress and anxiety. On one hand, it shows his passion on the other suspense. Jesus, as human, struggles to take the cup of suffering – a cup bearing all the sins of humanity and, as the Divine, submits to the will of his Father. This mysterious suffering of Jesus gives each one of us confidence to approach him for he understands all our struggles and sufferings. (Hebrews 4.15)
The Cross: Surprise carved out of Pain
The Cross, for a Jew, was a symbol of curse (Deuteronomy 21.23). Today it has become source of comfort. The Cross is the place where God’s holy anger for human’s deadly sin is displayed in the cruelest manner. And yet, the Cross gave loving comfort to a dying thief who found his savior, a lonely mother who met her son; the beloved disciple received a mother, and a responsible centurion realized the true master. In the final moments, nature created darkness to protect us from seeing the intense pain and, surprisingly, the glory returned as Jesus gave up his spirit in a shout of victory. (Colossians 2.15)
Empty tomb: Success covered the pessimism
A tomb is the place of gloom, a journey into darkness and a challenge that was never conquered. But Jesus turned it into a place of glory, a journey into light and conquered the ultimate and common human enemy, death. A game is won only when the opponent is defeated in the arena. Jesus encountered death in the tomb, stripped death its sting and replaced decay with dignity. An egg broken from outside results in death but if broken from inside releases life. When Jesus walked out of the dead tomb created a path to life unlimited, imperishable and immortal to all those who believe. (John 5.24)
Easter, or the day of Resurrection, answers the grand old Tharak manthram – mrutyorma amruthangamaya (Lead me from death into eternity) This was made true in Jesus who said, “I am the resurrection and life.” He also made it possible for one to cross over from death into eternity. Easter also scripts the final lines of Raj Kapoor’s song (Mera Naam Joker), Jeena yahan marna yahan iskey siva jana kaha (We live here and die here – wh have no other destination) into Jo Yeshu Masih per vishwas karenga wah janeth payega aur mruthu unper kabi rajya na karenga (Those who believe in Jesus will go to land of eternity and death will never rule over them). Easter answers the serious religious quest, and even, sentimental hope-less film song. The bottom line is – There is hope for humanity. Jesus Christ died for the sins of humanity, but was raised back to life and everyone who calls of his name will experience the gift of salvation. (I Corinthians 15.3-4; Romans 10.13)