Why Jesus is my Hero #13 of 52
Over the Easter weekend I’ve been reading Matthew’s account of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. I must confess that I often fall into the trap of feeling a little underwhelmed on Easter Sunday: I tend to be all about Good Friday. Good Friday is when we remember the cross; Good Friday is when we remember that Jesus died the death that we deserved, taking the punishment that was our due upon himself so that we could be set free; Good Friday is where God’s justice was satisfied so that I can be sure of a “not guilty” verdict when I stand before the judgement seat of God. Need I spell out why I find all that pretty exciting?
But Easter Sunday… Sometimes I make the mistake of thinking of Easter Sunday as a mere epilogue to what was achieved on Good Friday. I roll out the resurrection in apologetics situations as evidence of Jesus’ identity, and I guess it’s nice that the story of Good Friday has a happy ending because the poor man on the cross didn’t stay dead and what have you, but as absurd as it sounds, I don’t often really think in terms of anything being achieved on Easter Sunday.
Well in that respect I couldn’t be further from the gospel writers and the rest of the early church. What a rebuke it was to me to read Matthew 28 this morning, and hear these words from the lips of the risen Jesus:
“And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.'” (Matthew 28:18-20)
So yes, it was on Good Friday that the price for my sin was paid in full, but without Easter Sunday that becomes a mere transaction as cold and remote as the body that would still be lying in that garden tomb in the rock. It sounds kind of obvious when you spell it out, but without Easter Sunday Jesus would still be dead! Maybe I fail to get excited by Easter Sunday because in my heart of hearts I live as though he may as well be – I fail to believe his promise that “I will be with you always, to the end of the age.” Jesus lives! He is risen! He stands before the throne of God making intercession for those who trust in him, pleading our case before the Ancient of Days, and through his gift of the Holy Spirit he is with us still today so that we are not left alone as orphans.
It’s Easter Sunday which shows that Jesus was victorious over sin and Satan – death could not hold him because he defeated sin once and for all. And with Satan defeated, he was able to declare that “all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” Jesus is now lifted above every power and authority, he rules as king over every nation and tribe and tongue. Because of Easter Sunday there is now nothing outside of his dominion. He deserves allegiance from every creature in existence, whether on earth or in heaven. He is the boss. And that’s why the mission that he gives to his disciples makes such perfect sense: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations”. Because he’s the boss of all the world – all authority has been given to him – of course they’re to go and call all the world to follow him. The Christian message isn’t just about Good Friday and a great offer of free forgiveness for you to take or leave as you see fit – it’s also about Easter Sunday and a risen and ascended King who deserves and demands your allegiance. To stand against Jesus now isn’t just to miss out on a wonderful opportunity, it’s to set yourself up as a rebel force in defiance of your rightful ruler.
Jesus is the boss of everything and everyone. That’s why he’s my hero.