In order to deep sea dive for the treasure of the story of Christ’s resurrection, we must first mention a word that is often allocated to one or two months at the end of each year — Christmas.
No, not jingle bells or snow or Christmas trees or Santa, but rather the birth of the Christ Child.
The incarnation of the Son of God was a first step, if you will, in bringing to light the treasures of this profound plan of God that was once hidden from man, but now has been revealed in the gospel. Christ took on flesh for the express purpose of becoming the one and only sacrifice that could possibly be good enough to bring reconciliation and peace between God and man!
So, we descend a little deeper, past the miracles that Jesus did to prove He was who He said He was, the Son of God who was before Abraham and all the other patriarchs.
We pass the teachings of Jesus which were, of course, a part of the reason He came, so that we might see Who God is by seeing Him. These were a huge part of His revealing Himself to us so that we might come to know God.
Then we arrive at the most important reason He came, to sacrifice Himself for our pardon and salvation. We see this in His being given the name Jesus, “for He shall save His people from their sins.” It’s also made known by Jesus being “led as a lamb to the slaughter” for sacrifice, not dragged as a fighting tiger to his doom. Jesus said Himself in John 10:17, 18 (NASB),
“For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.”
Think of it, Jesus has been praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. He has been suffering what up till this point has been His darkest hour. Then along comes “the Roman cohort and the commander and the officers of the Jews” (John 18:12 NASB) to arrest Jesus. (Other translations use other words, but Strongs Concordance defines it as: “a mass of men [a Rom. military cohort…]).
Okay, so this is where the Sunday School pictures and flannel graph do not do the story justice. A cohort, according Josephus.org (link below) was at least 480 men. No wonder the disciples were so totally freaking out!! I always wondered what was the big deal if a few soldiers came to arrest Jesus, but 480 clunk, clunk, clunking as they marched into the garden in the dark, where Jesus had been praying as his disciples kept falling asleep? Now that’s a nightmare of an alarm clock!
Anyway, Jesus went willingly, not because He was intimidated by the army, but because that had always been the plan!
Then we see Him suffering through the Roman flogging, and other abuses but “He opened not His mouth,” (Acts 8:32) not because He was unable to defend Himself adequately, but because He was.
And He went to the cross in spite of the shame “for the joy set before Him”. (Hebrews 12:2) What joy?
- The joy of forgiving and saving us.
- The joy of bringing us into His family.
- The joy of living with us in glory for eternity!
This is part of the treasure we find.
Oh, and the Resurrection? It was part of the plan. Jesus had the authority to take up His life again. The Father was perfectly satisfied with Jesus’ perfect sacrifice! The grave could not hold Him!
As we read in Peter’s sermon in Acts 2:
“But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.” (vs.24, emphasis mine)
And in Philippians 2 we read:
“For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow….and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
We who have already willingly confessed Him as Lord, have found a greater treasure than any other deep sea diver, greater than all the Spanish doubloons in all the sunken ships in the world! Our Treasure is Jesus, who died and rose again and is coming back to take us to be with Him forever!
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