There was once a time when the world knew not of its Savior. Yet there was hope because it had been foretold that a child would be born and called Emmanuel – God is with us. In Lent, we prepare for his coming anew. During this season, we discover for ourselves the call of salvation and the promise of eternal life.
A baby is born in a manger in fulfillment of the prophecy of the coming of Emmanuel—God is with us. He is protected and cared for by his mother. He grows to be a man and sets off on his appointed duty.
He initiates his ministry with the cleansing in the river by the Baptist. He recruits supporters to follow him on his journey. Twelve join him. He is called “Rabbi” by these disciples meaning “Teacher.” He teaches them about love, about service, about humility, about peace, about faith.
In his travels, he encounters people in need. To them, he brings grace and comfort. He heals the ill son of a centurion, he gives sight to the blind, he makes the lame walk, he wakes a little girl from death, and he raises a young man from the tomb.
One afternoon, he walks up a hill and is bathed in golden light. From above the clouds a voice booms: This is my Son, listen to him. He walks down the hill and tells his disciples to keep this phenomenon secret because his time has not yet come.
Through his teachings and miracles, he becomes popular, even idolized. People want to see him, they want to touch him. Yet there are those in authority who are threatened by him. They challenge him to explain himself. His answer: I do only what God wills.
They denounce his blasphemous arrogance and make plans to eliminate him. Their high priest says it is wise for this man to die so that a rebellion will be quelled.
The man now knows his time is soon coming and so he gathers with his followers for one last supper. He exchanges bread and wine as a memorial of his flesh and blood which he will give for them. One of the disciples leaves abruptly in preparation for his betrayal.
When he is betrayed, the man presents himself willingly to his captors going so far as to heal a soldier whose face is sliced apart in the scuffle. He is taken to the authorities. There, he is mocked and abused. He is sent forth to the Governor, the supreme leader of the land. To the rousing approval of the townspeople, he is sentenced to be crucified. He is dragged down a dirt path and hung on a cross. His body is given in penance for the sins of others. Even in his anguish and pain, he asks God to forgive those who persecute him.
Upon his last breath, he is taken down from the cross. His battered and lifeless body is wrapped in a cloth and carried to a burial place, a cave which will be fortified by a large boulder.
With the life of this man ended, the people depart each to their own ways. A baby born in a manger, a boy raised to a man, a man committed to a singular purpose: do what God wills. But now that man is dead.
Those that followed the man are left lost and alone. They scatter in fear for their lives. After all that the man had meant to them, now that he was gone it was as if he never was.
Then comes the day. One of the followers goes to the cave. She finds it empty with only the burial clothes left behind. Then she sees something. Unsure of the vision before her, she inquires, “Rabbi?” The man welcomes her as she kneels before him. He tells her to go tell the others:
“I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” (John 20:17)
This man, Jesus, was resurrected from death and born to new life in God’s heavenly kingdom. The resurrection of Jesus is the reason God sent his only Son to the world. This is the mission Jesus was born for, the mission he lived for, and the mission he died for. This is how God proves He has a place for us in heaven, if only we believe in His Son, Jesus Christ.
And Easter Sunday is the day we know it is true.
This is the day!
These Gospel stories are re-imagined in the book series:
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