“Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted.” (Isaiah 53:4)
When a terrified man sweats blood, when he is beaten to within an inch of losing His life, then forced to carry heavy planks of wood up the side of a large hill, when nails are then driven through His hands and feet and he is then suspended by them from a Roman Cross…he dies.
Thousands of men were either whipped or crucified – but not both. Only Jesus. All this to show you that there is nothing more sure, nothing more certain, than the death of Jesus. It’s not as if He slipped into a coma. It’s not as if He were merely unconscious when He was taken down off the Cross. Just to make sure He is really dead, a spear is driven through His side. Jesus is as dead as dead can be. Being dead, He is taken down off the Cross. He is placed in the grave prepared for Him. Crucified. Dead. Buried. That is Jesus.
And that is Jesus for you. This means that you are never alone in your life. Not even in the hour of death. Not even in your grave. Just as Jesus has already been where you are in your life, and He has already been where you will be in your death. Even in your grave. You are never alone. And you need never fear. Not in this life. Not in your death. Not even in your burial. For you, Jesus lived. And now, this night, you are brought to the remembrance that for you, Jesus died and was buried.
But His death is not merely a physical death. It is the BIG death. It is the death of death itself. It is the death of the Lamb of God – the spotless, unblemished Lamb led to the slaughter – who takes your sin on Himself, and takes its condemnation and punishment as well. In His death, there is nothing left for you. No fear. No condemnation. No punishment. Not even death. Crucified, dead and buried.
And on the third day, He rose again from the dead. The grave can’t hold Jesus. He will rise – and in His resurrection, death will be destroyed forever.
And because the grave can’t hold Jesus, it can’t hold you, either. "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.” In he Name of Jesus. Amen.
Daily Lectionary: Exodus 12:29-32; 13:1-16; Hebrews 6:1-20
Readings for the Day: Is. 52:13-53:12; 2 Cor. 5:14-21; St. Jn. 18:1-19:42
Lenten Reflections have been written by Reverend Daniel J. Feusse. Pastor Feusse is pastor at Concordia Lutheran Church in Clearwater, NE.