How do you feel getting something done very well after so many challenges? It could be a very difficult test or examination, a job description, a contract, an interview, a trying time etc. Most people come out from such with smiles, sighs of relief, and hilarious shouts. Others tend to be outwardly calm but inwardly excited while for others, post-victory feeling could be indescribable. Indeed after the storm comes calmness.
The latter view could be linked to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. On Friday we were thrown into so much sorrow. Our Lord Jesus Christ was condemned to die. He was bruised, flogged, cajoled, abandoned, mutilated, and finally killed. It was all gloomy and confusion was rife. The apostles were devastated. The best among them goofed. Peter who was given an enviable position as the key bearer denied the Lord even before a little maid who could qualify as his daughter. Judas who was overlooking the treasure of the community sold the master for thirty pieces of silver (about $155). And of course the others took to their heels when the situation became unbearable.
All these and more became past tales with the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ on this day. Indeed we have reason to rejoice because as St. Paul would say death is destroyed and victory is complete (1 Cor. 15:54). It is also victory over the plans of the devil.
From the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ the devil had been looking for ways of stopping the salvific work of the redeemer through different persons and situations though without success until the appointed time when our Lord was subjected to suffering and death on the cross. So when we hear about Herod plotting to kill the infant, the Scribes, Sadducees, Pilate, the Priests, Pharisees, the towns people of Nazareth and their like we should actually see these as orchestrations of the devil to frustrate the work of our redemption.
After the death of Jesus the devil also saw the need to stop him from rising from the dead through the Chief Priests and the Sanhedrin who went to Pilate to ask that the tomb be guarded by Roman soldiers (Matt 27:62-65). This was a situation where mere mortals wanted to prevent a divinely programmed redemptive plan.
This whole arrangement of supposing that the disciples will come to take the body of Jesus away and say that he rose from the dead showed the anxiety on the part of the devil that after all the resurrection will make a show of the futility of his plans. It is important to note that nobody, spirit or human, can thwart the plans of God. At the appointed time; the divinely instituted moment the soldiers strategized to beat Jesus back into the grave should he attempt to rise. However there was an earthquake (Matt.28:1) and an angel came and rolled the stone that was covering the tomb away. The soldiers were so terrified that they became like dead men and at that instant our Lord rose majestically and triumphantly. The soldier woke up only when it was too late and they could only go to report themselves as sleeping when the disciples took the body of the Lord away; an incredible tale that is unbecoming of Roman Soldiers.
The testimony of the women who went to the tomb early and met an empty tomb was ascertained by Peter and John who went to confirm the empty tomb. It is also our faith that our Lord has risen and that also marks our own resurrection. We are a resurrection people. There is no way our Lord could rise and we remain unaffected and unchanged by the power of his resurrection. To this end St. Paul would admonished us that if we believe that we have been raised with Christ we should seek for things above where Christ is seated at the right hand of the father (Col.3:1f).
The resurrection of Jesus is productive of a lasting identity for us. There is need for every aspect of our lives to be marked with the character of the resurrection. Pope Benedict XVI in his book Jesus of Nazareth (part two) indicated that the Christian faith stands or falls with the truth of the testimony that Christ is risen from the dead. May his resurrection open new vistas of elevation for you.