“When we get to Jerusalem,” he said, “the Son of Man will be betrayed to the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. They will sentence him to die. Then they will hand him over to the Romans to be mocked, whipped, and crucified. But on the third day he will be raised from the dead.” - Matthew 20:18-19
With the benefit of two thousand years of hindsight, we understand there could be no Easter morning without a Good Friday. However, as far as the disciples of Jesus were concerned, on that Friday after the crucifixion, the Cross was the end of all their highest hopes and most daring dreams.
Jesus had certainly done his best to prepare his followers for the Cross, for on three occasions he had told them that he would die, but also that he would rise again. The first occasion was after Peter’s confession of faith (Matthew 16:21). The second was after Jesus was transfigured (Matthew 17:22-23). The third was as he and his disciples were going to Jerusalem for the last time. Jesus spoke of himself, saying, “They will hand him over to the Romans to be mocked, whipped, and crucified. But on the third day he will be raised from the dead” (Matthew 20:19).
It seems strange that not one of the disciples remembered the momentous promise that Jesus would rise again.
Why is it so important to believe in Jesus’ resurrection? Because we who believe it and confess him as Lord will be raised too! By far the biggest problem in life is death. But for the believer, the stone has been rolled away from the tomb of death. It’s empty! Death for the Christian is the gateway into life. Christ has gone before to tell us there is a new world ahead of us, and those of us who believe can face the grave with utmost confidence in that promise.
For Further Study: Matthew 20:17-28
Excerpted from The One Year Devotions for Women, Copyright ©2000 by Jill Briscoe. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.
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