Yet today we can see how that dark moment was combined with with so many broken pieces into a mosaic of salvation that depends on the actions of One that calls for the faith of all others.
Now we can also see why the Good Shepherd asks us to trust him– even as we hear of how he was falsely accused, spit on, whipped, blasphemed, slandered, mocked, tortured, and then finally buried in our place.
Now we can see what the scattered sheep couldn’t make any sense of.
Yet, with the report of the women that the grave was empty came a turning point not only in the lives of Jesus friends, but with the whole sweep and goal of human history.
Many of us have seen how a well written murder mystery can keep us hanging between possible solutions and scenarios. As the plot unfolds clues are scattered within an unfolding storyline. Then a turn of events suddenly makes a place for all of the pieces to come together to convict one and acquit others.
Jesus resurrection and victory over the grave is a moment that began to change the world, one heart at a time. Yet the changes would happen not just because someone had finally risen from the dead. That had happened even in the days of Elijah (1Kings 17:22). It was because with Jesus’ resurrection countless details of the law, prophets, and writings could now come together to explain who Jesus was and why he died.
Jerusalem’s ancient temple of sacrifice would continue to stand for another 40 years as the first followers of Jesus began to tell the whole world that everything in that temple, including the role of the priests, the sacrifices, the symbolic ritual, furniture, its calendar of feasts, and even the very temple building itself all pointed to the long anticipated Savior of the world.
Today many believe that the greatest evidence for the resurrection is that a group of frightened, scattered disciples suddenly were willing to die for a report that would have been a lie– if not true. People may die for what they think to be true. But people don’t tend to die for what they know to be a lie.
But the greatest evidence for the resurrection is not just that one fact, nor that the grave was empty. Jesus’ enemies came up with other ways to explain that– even if those explanations don’t hold up under scrutiny.
The greatest evidence of the resurrection is the way it brings together the countless details of the Bible into a story that flows into and out of the One person who, because he was innocent (and God in the flesh), could be convicted in a way that would satisfy the demands of justice, while letting criminals like Barrabas and us go free…
Now we can read the whole story of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, to see why Jesus is the only person who could ever rightly claim to be showing how much his Father loves us, by giving his own life for the sheep (John 14:14-18).
Nor could anyone else ever give us so much reason to believe him when he tells us that the resurrection of the Good Shepherd has a future– that will soon be ours.