After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, approached, rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. His appearance was like lightning and his clothing was white as snow. The guards were shaken with fear of him and became like dead men. Then the angel said to the women in reply, "Do not be afraid! I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified. He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, 'He has been raised from the dead, and he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him.' Behold, I have told you." Then they went away quickly from the tomb, fearful yet overjoyed, and ran to announce this to his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them on their way and greeted them. They approached, embraced his feet, and did him homage. Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me." Matthew 28:1-10
How confused, bewildered and devastated Jesus' followers must have been when He suffered and died. The cross had brought pain, grief, sorrow, doubt, fear and hopelessness. But the cross was necessary. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary began to understand. Jesus had to suffer a torturous death to pay the price for humanity's sin. The Temple had been built so that the sins of the people could be forgiven. There was an intricate sacrificial system officiated by the priests. The Jews of Jesus' time understood the sacrificial nature of forgiveness.
Do we? What does Jesus' sacrifice mean for you and me? We don't have to pay for our sins; not that we could. We do have to accept His willing sacrifice. Our journey with God must pass through the suffering and death of Jesus on the cross. The cross, where Jesus died for us, became the gateway to everlasting life. We simply have to accept this most gracious of gifts. When we do it must be with the expectation that it is the anchor for our lives going forward.
Our journey from the Cross may be full of pain, grief, sorrow, doubt, fear and even death. However, there is always hope because we know that in the Cross of Jesus Christ there is life.