He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinners and be crucified and on the third day rise.” And they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles.(Luke 24:6-10)
Pay attention to angels. Their advice and actions are often life-saving to our bodies and souls. Here, the angels help the women and us remember Jesus’ teachings that he will be crucified by sinners and on the third day rise. Rising into heaven is important. Jesus’ resurrection is an essential Christian belief that gives us hope. But the angels don’t mention heaven. There’s another message.
Like Jesus, we’ll also be delivered into the hands of sinners who crucify us. Recently, I was in that situation. I and other family members were betrayed by someone we thought cared about us but didn’t. Most of us have been betrayed because there’s so much evil in the world. The message is that we must rise above it on the third day.
We often don’t think about Jesus rising on the third day because it doesn’t make sense. Jesus died on a Friday afternoon just past three as all the hands of the clock descended. At the latest he rose on Sunday morning before sunrise – that’s actually less than two days. The Bible could say it was less than two days when he rose but instead it tells us he didn’t rise on Friday, the first day, but rose on Sunday, the third day. Jesus died at three and rose on the third day because, in the Bible, three symbolizes life and completeness. The Bible often uses the number three: the trinity, three patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob), Peter denying Jesus three times, Jesus in return telling Peter to feed his sheep three times, and Jonah was in the belly of the whale for three days. There are other examples.
We need to rise completely above the death of our souls when we’re hurt or betrayed, so we can begin new life. Jesus took less than two days to rise and it will probably take us more than three days, but it is important to rise above the crucifixion our souls feel and the people who were responsible. First we feel negative emotions: sadness, anger, and anxiety. Following Jesus’ example, when it’s happening, we should remain silent. Secondly, Jesus prayed. “Being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.” (Luke 22:44) Thirdly, he forgave “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”(Luke 23:34) Fourthly, Jesus helped another. “Jesus answered him (the criminal), ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.’” (Luke 23:43)
Jesus, you understand what I’m going through. You were tortured more than I. Help me follow your example to not respond in anger, keeping silent. You died for sins worse than the ones committed against me. So help me forgive. Maybe he/she doesn’t know better if acting by example from parents or doesn’t realize the enemy is at work. I trust you for revenge. Let me help someone else so I can rise above the crucifixion of my soul and the person who did it. Amen.