There are two events that form the hinge of human history and set the Christian faith apart from all other religions. The first of these events—the crucifixion of our Lord—was both the greatest crime and the supreme act of sacrificial love in the history of mankind. The second—the resurrection—turned despair and apparent defeat into eternal hope and victory.
But what does all this mean for us? What difference do the cross and the empty tomb make for those who are facing pain or tears or failure? Here are some of the implications from these momentous events:
- Are you plagued with guilt from your past?
The cross means God's righteous anger against sin has been satisfied; there is no longer any condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. When Satan stands to accuse you to the Father, Jesus stands to defend you!
- Are you frustrated with your inability to please God?
The cross means Jesus has fulfilled all the righteousness of the law; because He has perfectly pleased His Father, we who are in Christ are also pleasing to God.
- Has a friend or family member sinned against you and caused you much grief?
The cross means Jesus can enable you to extend the same forgiveness you've received to the one who has wronged you the most deeply.
- Are you grieving the loss of a loved one?
The cross means God understands what it is like to give up the one you love the most. Because the Father gave up His Son, our separations and losses are only temporary.
- Do you struggle to be free from sinful bondages and addictions?
The cross and the empty tomb mean you do not have to continue in sin . . . Christ has broken sin's power to control you.
- Have you been disappointed by someone who broke a promise or was unfaithful to you?
The resurrection means God always keeps His promises.
- Do you find yourself in circumstances that seem hopeless?
The resurrection means there is hope in the midst of every circumstance. God is all-powerful, and nothing is beyond His control. One day all tears will be wiped away, and all sorrow will be turned to joy.
So don't run from the cross. Let God use the pressure and the problems to make you more like Jesus. Then be sure to move beyond the cross to the empty tomb.
Allow the risen Christ to turn your doubts to assurance and your fears to faith. Lift your tear-filled eyes upward and let the Lord Jesus fill your heart with true peace and joy. Refuse to give in any longer to despair or discouragement or guilt. As the darkness and tears of that infamous Friday gave way to the joy and victory of Sunday morning, be assured that He will surely turn your darkness to light and your tears to joy.