The following reading is part of a larger Easter reading plan. If you would like to download the full, free Easter reading plan, you can do so here.
For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of My own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from My Father.”
But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.”
Jesus had the power to bring Himself down off of the cross. When His tormenters mock Him saying, “He saved others, but He cannot save Himself” (Matthew 27:42), they couldn’t have been more wrong. Jesus had the power to avoid His own death, but He gave His life up willingly. In God’s economy, power is not lorded over the weak; it is wielded to bring the lost home – you and me. Jesus showed the full breadth of His power in submitting to the Father’s will and dying a sinner’s death to bring us sinners home.
Just as Jesus laid down His life of His own accord, He took it up again. By His own power, He rose from the dead. He walked right out of the grave because He – and none other – is God. His power is shown in His bodily death and bodily resurrection. In His risen body we behold our great hope of our own resurrection. In this Divine act He paved the way for us to follow Him into God’s presence for eternity.
Thank Jesus that He not only laid down His life of His own accord, but that He took it up again. Thank Him that He rose again on the third day – Just as He said He would.