It’s hard to keep a good man down.
If any man in history deserved that title of good, it was this one. He did nothing wrong His entire life, only going about doing good. He healed sick people, comforted the downtrodden, fed those who were hungry, crossed societal lines to reach out to the poor and marginalized, ate and drank on the wrong side of the tracks. One of His disciples even wrote this about Him:
“There are so many other things Jesus did. If they were all written down, each of them, one by one, I can’t imagine a world big enough to hold such a library of books.” John 21:25
If good kept a person alive in this world, Jesus would never had been crucified.
Jesus and religion didn’t mix though. He upset the status quo, challenged the thinking of those in charge, dared to overturn the misguided and myopic leading of the powers that be. He was a threat to the stability of the ruling elite, a threat to their power and a threat to their wealth. Oddly, the secular government didn’t see a problem, but such was the zeal and fervor of the high priests of the dominant religion, that they let a good man die.
But it’s hard to keep a good man down, and it should have come as no surprise that He didn’t stay down.
“And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.” Mark 8:31
“Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ ” John 2:19
“For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” Matthew 12:40
“Now while they were staying in Galilee, Jesus said to them, ‘The Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him, and the third day He will be raised up.’ ” Matthew 17:22-23
Sometimes, though, ideas are so large, so grand, so outside of normal thinking that the words don’t sink in. Or maybe sometimes we just don’t want them to, preferring instead to deflect the words that upset our happy existence, purposely filtering a message clearly given.
Such was the case that those that came searching for Him Sunday morning were shocked to find Him gone. As humans, we invest a lot in the idea of death. There are rituals and processes, societal norms and expectations. There is never any doubt when we visit a grave that the dead are still there, where they are supposed to be. We are, after all, visiting the place of death for our own benefit, to assuage our grief while we labor through our remorse. And as the group came looking, they had to be reminded by shining luminaries, angels of God, who said:
“Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’” Luke 24:6-7
On Friday, Jesus had become the propitiation, the payment, for the debt of all mankind. On Saturday He had broken the chains of death and unlocked the gates of Hell. And on Sunday He left the grave behind, He had risen indeed.
These things happened, just as He said they would. And today, over 2,000 years later, uncountable numbers of His followers will gather, and the phrase will be repeated over and over – “He is risen” and the answer will always be “He is risen indeed.”
It’s hard to keep a good man down.