“But on the First Day…”

This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then he took it down and wrapped it in a linen shroud and laid him in a tomb cut in stone. It was the day of Preparation, and the Sabbath was beginning. The women who had come with him from Galilee followed and saw the tomb and how his body was laid. Then they returned and prepared spices and ointments. On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.

“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… but 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. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.’” Luke 23:52-24:7

The anguish of the crucifixion had quieted, Joseph requested to bury Jesus’s body, and then all rested because it was the Sabbath. Those who had killed the One who instituted and fulfilled the law rested according to its tenets. Those who loved Jesus and witnessed his death also rested, depleted by sorrow and imaginably grateful for the prescribed Sabbath. And this rest is divinely ours for the work that Jesus accomplished there. By faith, we can rest in the marvelous fact that He bore our sins so we do not have to. (Matthew 5:17; Hebrews 4:9-11; 1 Peter 2:24)

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Yet, following rest, morning comes. In the early dawn we rise in faith, refreshed by the rest afforded by the finished work of the cross. Looking up from the empty tomb, we go forth in the power of the resurrection.

In what aspect of my living need I apply Jesus’s death? What sloth of spirit, what self-focus, what superior or self-righteous attitude has wrapped its tentacles around my thinking and doing, and needs to be extricated? What anger, bitterness, greed, need to control, should be put to rest? Look at the cross, the sealed tomb, and rest. It is finished! Then lift your eyes to the first day on the other side, and walk in the power of the Spirit of victory. Because of Jesus, this is mine to enjoy! (John 19:30; Galatians 5:16-17)

“If Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.” Romans 8:10-11

Risen Lord, may my every breath, decision, action be controlled by the immeasurable greatness of the power You worked in Christ when You raised Him from the dead, to the glory of Your mighty, lofty name. (Ephesians 1:19-21)

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