A New Day: Garland Instead of Ashes, Part 4

When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of Jesus, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him.

Mark 16:1

Sabbath restrictions officially ended on Saturday evening around 6pm — technically it was after the sun set and three stars were visible in the sky. At this point, shops often opened up for business, signaling the start of the “first day of the week” in the Jewish mindset. So some of the women who were following Jesus likely went out and purchased some spices so they could finish anointing the body of Jesus once the sun came up. This shows that they didn’t go to the tomb expecting to find it empty. They expected ashes, the oil of mourning, a faint spirit.

But instead, they found new life. The tomb was empty; the angels declared, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; He is risen!” The women rushed to share this news with the other disciples, but Luke says that they thought the women were speaking nonsense. Simon Peter and John ran to the tomb and they found the same thing. No body, only the linen clothes Jesus had been wrapped in. And the Bible says that Simon Peter walked away from the tomb wondering what had happened. “Could it be true? It can’t be true. That’s impossible.” And maybe the words of Jesus came ringing back to him: With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.

And that evening, the disciples were together, no doubt confused and fearful — as evidenced by the fact that they had the doors locked and the window shades pulled down. And the Bible says that Jesus stood among them and said, Peace be with you. And John says the disciples were OVERJOYED when they saw Jesus! Instead of confusion and fear, they were filled with peace and hope and joy.

And this Good News about the resurrection of Jesus has reshaped the world.

All of the best “insteads” we can imagine are found in Jesus.

For a few weeks now, we’ve been saying that everything about the ministry of Jesus reflects the Kingdom of God. His healing ministry reflects the idea that the Kingdom of God is the place of ultimate restoration. His ministry of feeding the poor and the hungry reflects the concept that the Kingdom of God is the place of true satisfaction and sustenance. His teaching ministry is based upon the truthfulness of God’s Word, which is foundational to the Kingdom of God. Last week, we noted that His crucifixion reflects the kind of self-giving, sacrificial love that is a hallmark of God’s Kingdom.

And what about His resurrection? The resurrection of Jesus Christ reveals that the Kingdom of God is the place of new life. This is reflected in the fact that the very breath of God entered into His lifeless corpse and filled His lungs once again. His heart started beating again on that Resurrection Sunday and it’s not skipped a beat ever since. The blood that brought us salvation began coursing through His veins once more. He walked out of that tomb fully alive again — because the Kingdom of God is the place of the great “instead.” He exchanged the ashes of death for the garland of victory.

The tomb was found empty because He lives — to this very day, He lives.

And He declares, “I am making all things new.” Because His is the Kingdom of new life.

God took public execution and transformed it into the vehicle for salvation. If God can transform something as reprehensible as crucifixion into an element of the Good News, do you really think there’s any part of your life that He couldn’t similarly transform?

Two thousand years ago, God exchanged the ashes of death, crowning His son with the garland of resurrection. This is the Good News! Today you can experience this great exchange.

With God, all things are possible.

All things are possible for the One who makes all things new.

All of the best “insteads” we can imagine are found in Jesus.

In the name of Jesus Christ, the Sovereign Lord who makes all things new, He who has ears, let him hear.

This entry was posted in Blessings, Eschatology, Faith, God, Gospel, Hope, Isaiah, Jesus, Kingdom Values, Scripture, Theology. Bookmark the permalink.

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