"He's not here; he has risen, just as he said..."
Rae's Thought: The women walked along the path, hearts heavy, minds still reeling from the events of the last two days. They could still see Jesus, their Lord, hanging on the cross, body so marred, he was nearly unrecognizable. They could still hear his voice as he cried out in agony. Those hands, nailed to the cross, were the same hands that had performed so many miracles only days before. That voice, riddled with pain, was the same voice that had, with all power and authority, preached to the masses and commanded demons out of the possessed. The women couldn't believe Jesus was gone. Oh, how they missed him!
As they approached the tomb, a violent earthquake shook the area. After things settled down, the women looked up and saw what appeared to be an angel of the Lord, rolling back the stone and sitting on it. The angel's appearance was like lightning and his clothes were white as snow. The women were terrified! The guards were so paralyzed with fear, that they looked like dead men! Although the guards and women were both afraid, the angel only addressed the women. "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay." (Matthew 28:1-6)
"He has risen." These three little words hold so much power. Without them, we would have no Easter. Without them, we'd have no Christianity. Without them, we'd have no victory. "He has risen." Because of these three words, we celebrate both Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday. I assure you, the whole time Jesus was in that grave, Satan and his minions were holding a party down in hell, thinking they'd won. They thought they'd triumphed over God. In their minds, they'd finally gotten the victory over the One who'd kicked them out of heaven long before creation. Satan had been waiting a long time, since he'd convinced Eve to take a bite...perhaps even before that, to get revenge on God. Those two days and nights were sweet bliss for hell's inhabitants.
But on the third day, something happened; something...out of this world. Satan and his minions looked at the scene of the grave and realized that something was missing. The tomb was still there. The guards still watched over the tomb. The women were still in mourning. But something was missing. Jesus' body! Where was his body? I can imagine God's words coming back to Satan after the fall of man: He will crush your head (Genesis 3:15).
"He has risen." With these three words, Jesus defeated Satan and, because of that, the children of God - all who believe in Jesus' death and resurrection - are victorious. The battle? Already won. Satan? Defeated. God's children? More than conquerors. Jesus died so that our sins may be forgiven. He got up so that we may be victorious. And we are. We've been redeemed! Redeem is defined as: to pay off; to recover; to fulfill; to deliver from sin by sacrifice. Do you know what that means? Jesus paid off our debts, recovered our souls from hell, fulfilled the prophesy of the scriptures, and delivered us from sin by sacrificing his life. So, lift that head up. Put a smile on that beautiful face. WE'VE GOT THE VICTORY! The battle's already been won. Satan is no longer a threat. Jesus got up with all power in his pierced hands. And because Jesus has the power, we have the power. The Holy Spirit empowers us to do all things through Christ who gives us strength. We've got what it takes to live abundant, triumphant, and redeemed lives. "He has risen!"