In my last post, I talked about Triumph to tragedy to what? “Victory” is what all of us who know the Lord want to say.
Today I’m talking about triumph to tragedy to glory.
24 Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices they had prepared. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb. 3 But when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were greatly perplexed concerning this, suddenly two men stood by them in shining garments. 5 As they were afraid and bowed their faces to the ground, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but has risen! Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, 7 saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.’ ” 8 Then they remembered His words.
9 And they returned from the tomb and reported all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. 10 It was Mary Magdalene and Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and other women with them, who told these things to the apostles. 11 But their words seemed like fables to them, and they did not believe them. 12 But Peter rose and ran to the tomb. Stooping down, he saw the linen cloths lying by themselves. He departed, wondering in himself what had happened.
John was a passenger in the car. They had been up quite a while, and it was dark. He began to doze off, then he’d raise up. Then he’d doze off again, and then sit up again. Then, all at once, he heard a gasp from the driver, and then it became sort of a shriek. John woke up and saw that they were quickly approaching a tree. He saw the windshield shatter before his eyes. After that…something happened.
Previous Blog Post
Today I want to talk about the triumph first, the tragedy, and then the glory. In my last blog, I talked about the triumphal entry into Jerusalem. That was a wonderful thing. The crowd cried, “Hosanna! Glory to God in the highest!”
Accused and Tried
But He knew the rest of the week was going to be different, and it was. It became a tragedy.
Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, He was taken before the High Priest where a fake trial was held. He was found guilty of blasphemy. They did not have the legal authority to put Him to death, which was their ultimate goal. So, they took Him before Pilate, who was a representative of the Roman government.
Pilate completed his investigation and said he found no fault in Jesus’ actions. He washed his hands and said he was “innocent of this man’s blood.”
The crowd cried out and said, “His blood be upon us and upon our children!”
Pilate said, “Yes! His blood WILL be on you, and on your children.” Then he caved to the pressure, turned, and gave the order to crucify Jesus.
Scourged and Crucified
So, they took Jesus and hung Him on a cross between two thieves. It was an innocent man hanging between two definite criminals.
It wasn’t just a man, however. People had seen Him perform miracles. Although they understood that He was fully man, fully human, He was also the divine Son of God.
Before being nailed to the cross, he had been whipped with a cat-o-nine-tails. His flesh was torn from his body and hung in ribbons. One scripture says that it couldn’t be recognized as human flesh. It was the most horrific physical suffering we could imagine. It was so graphic that one movie that was made about the crucifixion had to receive an “R” rating due to the violence. Even though that depiction was awful, the reality was even worse.
More Than Physical Suffering
As bad as the physical suffering was, He also suffered spiritually. He who knew no sin became sin for us. (2 Corinthians 5:21). The wages of sin are death (Romans 6:23), and that’s what Jesus did…He died. Because He was the Son of God, His death was different from any other death.
We’re all aware of physical death. That’s what we see at funerals. But there’s also spiritual death. It’s much deeper. It’s when we’re separated from God. But you don’t have to be separated from God because Jesus died the death that we deserve. We don’t have to be separated from God. He offers it as a free gift to mankind. I pray that if you’ve never accepted that gift you would do it before this day is over.
A Different Kind of Death
A lot of people die, but their death doesn’t count to me. Of all the funerals I’ve attended, those people’s death didn’t count to me. But because Jesus was the Son of God, His death was sufficient to pay the penalty for all of our sins. He didn’t have to pay the penalty for His sins because He had none. The only way He could “have” sin was for it to be taken from us and, in a way I don’t understand, be placed on Him. So, He became sin and suffered the ultimate penalty of death.
If you’re in a spiritual state of confusion and you wonder where you are, the thing you need to do most is to not leave that up to doubt and come to Christ. It’s the same answer whether you don’t know Him or you do.
Regardless of your previous church experience, do you know that you know if you were like John in that car wreck, you would go to Glory? If you don’t, there’s no need for you to be in that state. Before this day is over, you can get in contact with me via this blog and I will pray with you. Your prayer is how you will receive the gift. You can go to sleep tonight knowing for sure!
So, it’s tragedy to triumph to what can be glory. In the case of Jesus, it was, indeed, glory. The scripture above tells the story.
The women were going to the tomb to prepare Jesus’ body with oils and spices. They were concerned because they knew there was a large stone blocking the entrance and wondered who would roll the stone away. It is believed that it weighed between one and a half and two tons.
It turned out that they didn’t need to worry. When they arrived at the tomb of Jesus, two angels were there and had rolled the stone away.
The Bible tells us that there were Roman guards as well as temple guards watching the tomb. History says it may have been as many as 16 in total. Four at a time would stand at the mouth of the tomb while the others would patrol the rest of the area around it.
They took turns guarding the entrance so no one would fall asleep. If one did happen to fall asleep, the sentence was usually death.
The Rest of the Story
In order to get the whole story, it’s necessary to read all 4 of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). But the Bible tells us that a great earthquake came and the guards were “like dead men” – they were asleep. They didn’t even see the stone rolled away.
After Jesus rose from the dead, those who wanted Him crucified went to the Roman guards and instructed them to tell people that the disciples had come and stolen the body. The guards feared that they would be put to death, but the Jewish leaders assured them that they had great influence and would pay off the leaders to save the Roman soldiers from execution.
That’s the story that was circulated. But, that’s not what happened. Jesus did die, and He was in that tomb, but He rose again, victorious over death.
When the women went and told the disciples, Peter and John ran to the tomb. John arrived first, and when Peter arrived, he looked inside, and then he went in. He found the grave clothes lying in a pile. But the napkin that had covered His face was folded by itself. (John20:7) Jesus had been dead, but now He was alive! It was unimaginable!
They’d seen all kinds of things that defied the mind of man. There was the time when 5,000 men, plus women and children, needed to be fed. A collection was taken up, and they got 2 loaves of bread and 5 fish. Jesus was able to feed that entire crowd with that, plus leftovers!
Another time, the disciples were out in a boat. There was a storm on the water. They looked off in the distance and saw Jesus walking on the water. It defies the mind of man. How could He do these things? He was God in the flesh!
But the greatest miracle of all had just taken place. Jesus died, willingly laying down His life. They did not take it from Him. It was His choice. Then, He rose Himself from the dead with the power of the Father.
To make sure that we “got” it, He appeared to the disciples. The first time He did that, Thomas wasn’t with them. The others tried to tell him that they’d seen the risen Savior, but he refused to believe until he could put his hand in Jesus’ side where the spear had pierced Him and feel the prints of the nails in His hands and feet (John 20:24).
The next time Jesus appeared, Thomas was with them. Jesus turned to Thomas, who fell at His feet and cried, “My Lord and my God.”
He arose victorious!
So, you have the triumph of the crucifixion and the glory of the resurrection.
Think about John. The windshield shattered in front of him. He heard a loud crash. He was about to go through the windshield, but all at once, there was no pain, just comfort. There was bright light all around. Angels? Maybe. I know this: it was good. His body was mangled and would have to be buried.
Triumph to tragedy to glory.
That is how it would be if you’ve accepted the Lord’s free gift of salvation. Isn’t it a wonderful and marvelous thing?
We can’t do enough to be good enough. We can’t do enough to make up for all the wrongs that we’ve done in the past. We can’t do enough to erase all the resentments we’ve had in the past. We can’t take care of it ourselves. But Jesus did. He paid it all.
For those who accept His free gift, it doesn’t matter if they die in a car wreck or if sickness ravages their health, they will go on to Glory.
Jesus was crucified between two thieves. We know that after He died, He went to what He described as paradise.
The thief who was crucified next to Him said, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” The other thief reviled Jesus but the first one said, “He (Jesus) is innocent. You and I are guilty.” Jesus turned to the first one and said, “Today, you will be with Me in paradise.” (Luke 23:39-43)
So, Jesus rose again. He arose in a body that could be recognized. When He appeared to His disciples, they knew who He was.
He asked them for some fish, and they gave it to Him and He ate it (Luke 24:41-43). That showed that it was a physical body, not just a spirit. It wasn’t a mass hallucination, it wasn’t a hologram, it was a physical body. The disciples saw it.
Two people were walking on the road to Emmaus and Jesus appeared to them and walked with them for a while. It took them some time, but they finally figured out who He was and recognized Him.
They recalled how He spoke about the Old Testament prophecies and how they pointed to Jesus coming, dying, and rising again. They asked, “Didn’t our hearts burn within us while He talked to us…” (Luke 24:13-35)
Because He disappeared from their sight. Yes, it was a physical body but it did some amazing things. He walked through walls, appeared inside, and appeared inside.
He is the first fruit of the resurrection. That’s why you and I can know that when we face death, we’ll rise again, just like Jesus did. We’ll have a new body.
John entered into Glory. What can it be for us?
We will have a resurrected body someday. It will be like the body that was described of Jesus. It will be amazing.
Healing Still Happens
Just think about all the pain and suffering that you see people going through. Sometimes, God will take someone who has a terrible illness and He will heal them.
When Jesus was on Earth, they saw it all the time. Now, it happens in answer to prayer. Healing on Earth doesn’t happen for everyone, and some people get hung up on that.
But I know that sometimes, God does things that amaze the medical community. I know people have had imaging done, and on those images there are tumors. Then they go back to the doctor and more imaging is done and the medical staff says they can’t explain it, but the tumors are gone! That does happen sometimes. God does that.
What Does Your Future Hold?
But, the simple fact of the matter is, unless Jesus comes back, we’re all going to die at some point. After this will be the judgment (Hebrews 9:27). If you’ve accepted that free gift of salvation, you just sail right on through. If not, you don’t have that promise.
So will it be triumph to tragedy to glory or will it be triumph to tragedy to worse tragedy? Those are the only two options we have.
The Bible says that when Jesus comes back, the dead in Christ will rise first, and those of us who are Christians and are still alive will be caught up with Him in the air and will forever be with the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 4: 13-17)
Those bodies are going to be fully realized, resurrected bodies just like Jesus has. What happens between now and then? I don’t have all the answers, but we know some things from scripture.
A Conscious Experience
One thing is: The thief who was on the cross next to Jesus was later with Jesus in a conscious experience.
We know that Jesus talked about a rich man and a beggar named Lazarus. Jesus said that they died, and the rich man, being in torment in conscious existence, lifted up his eyes and saw that Lazarus was being comforted. (Luke 16:19-31)
We Will Be With Jesus
Between now and when the Lord comes back and the bodies are brought out of the grave, something happens, but I don’t know what.
What I do know for sure is that God is good and Jesus is good. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:8) Whatever “state” that is, it will be wonderful!
Then when the Lord comes back and we rise with Him and “pick up” our resurrected bodies, we’ll be free from pain and disease. The more time that passes, the more I understand that and am thankful for it. There will be no more pain, crying, sorrow, or death. (Revelation 21:4)
I’ve talked about the triumphal entry, the tragedy of Jesus’ crucifixion and death, but the glory of His resurrection!
Do You Know That You Know?
The story of John is based on actual events. There have been people who were in car wrecks and lost their lives. But because they had accepted Christ’s gift of salvation, they entered into Glory. For the ones who hadn’t done that, it’s more tragic.
Earlier, I asked the question, “Do you know that you know?”. It’s not about being self-righteous and thinking “I’m going to Heaven because I’m so good.” No one is good enough without Jesus. If you want the Biblical description of our own “goodness”, it says our good deeds are as filthy rags. (Isaiah 64:6) It is the same for all of us.
So, if you can’t get to Heaven based on your own goodness, how do you get there? It’s based on the goodness of God.
As I’ve said before, the wages of sin are death. Every one of us has sinned. We became sinners by choice. We rebelled against a holy God and wanted to go our own way. We all deserve death. That’s why Jesus died.
His Death is Sufficient
He died, and it is sufficient for all of us. That’s why it is the gift of salvation. We didn’t earn it and we don’t deserve it. But we do have to accept it.
Imagine if I had a $100 bill for each person reading this. Imagine if I offered one to you. Maybe someone reading this works for a bank and wants to verify the authenticity of the bills.
After examination, our banker friend confirms that they are genuine $100 bills. Now, all you have to do is come and get it. It’s all been proven to be real. Are you going to accept it?
A little boy with no inhibitions may run and get the first one. There may be some who will scoff at the offer, and insist that the bills are counterfeit, stay where they are, and miss out on the gift.
Here is a free gift. It’s called the Gospel. The word “gospel” means good news. It’s unbelievable for some. They may say, “God wouldn’t accept me.” The unbelievable news is that your sin has already been paid for. Salvation is there. Will you come and get it?
How do you do that? By faith. The Bible says the word of faith is near you, even in your heart. If you believe that Jesus died and rose again. (Romans 10:8,9) That’s exactly what I’m talking about here.
That’s what Easter is all about: That Jesus died and rose on the third day. If you believe that these things are fact, you are very close to salvation. The word of faith is near you. That’s the doctrine.
The other thing you need to do is, with child-like faith, come to Jesus and say, “It’s almost beyond belief that I could be saved. It’s almost beyond belief that You would love me that much. It’s almost beyond belief, God, that You would give Your Son for me. But it’s true, and I believe it.” You’re SO close!
The Bible says that all who received Him, to them gave He the power to become the children of God. (John 1:12) To get the $100, you have to receive it!
Many will come and receive it, but some will say, “There’s some catch to it. I don’t believe it.”
That’s the reality of it. That’s a fact of history. There was a man named Jesus who performed miracles. There is eyewitness testimony of them!
There are eyewitnesses who saw Him alive after he was crucified.
The disciples all saw the resurrected Jesus.
There were 500 people at one time that saw Him after the resurrection.
These are all facts of history.
It changed the disciples’ lives. In fact, they all gave their lives for Christ, because they believed they would live again.
You Can Have the Glory!
You just have to believe it by faith. Come and confess your sins and call upon the Lord. The Bible says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13) That’s how you walk up and get the $100.
If you’ve never been saved or if you’re not sure about your salvation, the answer is the same. If you have some doubt and aren’t sure if you ever really accepted Jesus Christ as your savior, or if you know you never have, the answer is the same.
It’s all about Jesus & His death. It is because of what He’s done that we can be sure! Not for any other reason.
If you’ve come to a point in your life where you’ve wandered away from God, just go back to Him. Follow the Lord and He will come into your heart and life. It will be tragedy to glory!