How different is the epitaph on the tomb of Jesus! It is neither written in gold nor cut in stone. It is spoken by the mouth of an angel and is the exact reverse of what is put on all other tombs: “He is not here; for he is risen, as he said.” (Matthew 28:6)
Two others, criminals, were led out to be executed with him at a place called “The Skull.” There all three were crucified—Jesus on the center cross, and the two criminals on either side. “Father, forgive these people,” Jesus said, “for they don’t know what they are doing.” And the soldiers gambled for his clothing, throwing dice for each piece. The crowd watched. And the Jewish leaders laughed and scoffed. “He was so good at helping others,” they said, “let’s see him save himself if he is really God’s Chosen One, the Messiah.” The soldiers mocked him, too, by offering him a drink—of sour wine. And they called to him, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself !” A signboard was nailed to the cross above him with these words: “This is the King of the Jews.” One of the criminals hanging beside him scoffed, “So you’re the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself—and us, too, while you’re at it!” But the other criminal protested. “Don’t you even fear God when you are dying? We deserve to die for our evil deeds, but this man hasn’t done one thing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” And Jesus replied, “Today you will be with me in Paradise. This is a solemn promise.”
The Living Bible
The benefits [of the resurrection] are innumerable. To list a few: Our illnesses don’t seem nearly so final; Our fears fade and lose their grip; Our grief over those who have gone on is diminished; Our desires to press on in spite of the obstacles is rejuvenated… Our identity as Christians is strengthened as we stand in the lengthening shadows of saints down through the centuries, who have always answered back in antiphonal voice: “He is risen, indeed!”
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