In Gethsemane Jesus was apprehended; in Pilate’s hall He was falsely accused by the very people He came to save. There He was sentenced to the most cruel of deaths, scourged and mocked before a bloodthirsty mob, many of them self-righteous hypocrites of the times. Yet, because He loved unconditionally, He did not retaliate but bore it patiently.
“He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.” Isaiah 53:7
Will we in like manner bear false accusations and misunderstandings? Will we pray for those who despitefully use us and persecute us? Can we say, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do”? Will we confess our sins and forsake the world even if we are reviled for it?
After this sad miscarriage of justice Jesus was led to Calvary. The cross was placed upon Him but His human physical condition could not bear it and another was compelled to carry it. There at Calvary He was nailed to the cross for the sins of the world, crucified with thieves. His final cry was that it was finished (the great redemption plan) and He died. “…having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end.” John 13:1
The Father looked upon the travail of His soul and was satisfied. (Isaiah 53:11.)
For the work of redemption to be complete in us, we cannot stop in Gethsemane. Our surrender must take us to our own Calvary where we give up our life and die. Our ambitions, plans, pride and self-will must all be nailed to the cross in death. It’s our freewill offering.
“Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we should also walk in newness of life.” Romans 6:4
Thanks be to God that Christ’s death was not the end. Early in the morning of the first day of the week the women who had so faithfully followed Jesus were at the tomb. Much to their dismay it was empty! With a few simple but astounding words angels explained that He was risen “ever more to reign.”
Sorrow and fear turned to joy and excitement as they began to understand. The news traveled quickly. The events that followed in the next forty days must have seemed like a whirlwind. One thing was established with certainty: Chris had risen and was Lord indeed!
When we have gone to Calvary ourselves and died, a new life comes forth. “Old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17. This provides the basis for a new life, for the love of God to dwell within us; we become a reflection of Christ and the manner of His love.
Paul encapsulates the whole of this experience in Philippians 3:10: “That I may know Him and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.”
As the hymn says, Christ’s resurrection “tore the bars away.” There was nothing limiting His power. He was no longer restrained by His human body but was victorious over sin, death and the grave.
On this side of eternity, we are still restrained by our human bodies, having this treasure in earthen vessels. (2 Cor. 4:7) Yet the power of the resurrection needs to be evident in our daily lives. Pentecost brought the Holy Spirit, poured upon all flesh (as prophesied in Joel 2:28; Acts 2:14-18) and more specifically that He, the Spirit of truth, would dwell within the believers. (John 14:16)
It is through faith in Christ’s work on Calvary and the promise of His indwelling presence through the Spirit that we experience the power of the resurrection. Because of this, the second death spoken of in Revelation 20 will have no power over us. Through the victory of Christ, we will have part in the final resurrection on that Great Day. Jesus said, “And lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Matt 28:20