Jean-Paul Sartre in describing the despair in our world did so with two words; “No exit!” The philosopher could never reconcile his personal view of the world with reality. He wanted to try to make sense of life but struggled because he automatically discounted everything the bible says about life and death. His view point was that once you die, there is no exit, no way out. He looked at Jesus Christ died and thought; “That’s all she wrote! It was fun while it lasted, but it’s over!” While I may be extrapolating more from the man’s words I do feel it is in line with the way he thought and wrote.
It is hard not to come to a similar conclusion when one reads the book of Mark 15:33-38; “At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. Then at three o’clock Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” Some of the bystanders misunderstood and thought he was calling for the prophet Elijah. One of them ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, holding it up to him on a reed stick so he could drink. “Wait!” he said. “Let’s see whether Elijah comes to take him down!” Then Jesus uttered another loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.”
Listen to the finality voiced through the scripture; darkness, forsaken, wait and see, Jesus breathed His last. It’s over! Jesus breathed His last. What a life He lived! People have been changed for the rest of their lives. Think of all those who have been healed, those who were so trapped by demons whom Jesus set free, all those wonderful words He spoke! Man, that was great! Wow, but now it’s over! Jesus is dead and that’s final! No coming back from that! Might as well head home.
With multiple eyewitness accounts of Jesus dying there can be no doubt he was dead. For the people that cared the most this must have been a huge shock. First he died, then he was buried, and Sunday morning when they came to place flowers at his tomb they find his body gone. It hardly seems fair.
Fortunately, the story does not end there. The empty tomb was not a sign of grave robbers but something far more amazing. Paul the apostle says that if Jesus was not resurrected that those of us that believe should be pitied above all others for we have built our lives around a lie. The truth is that the life of Jesus is bracketed by two impossibilities: a virgin’s womb and an empty tomb. Jesus entered our world through a door marked “no entrance,” and left through a door marked “no exit.” The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the single most important event ever! Death had been defeated. Before the resurrection of Jesus, no one had ever gone to the grave and returned to say, “There is a way through!” Resurrection takes place in the country of death.
We live in a world that only offers death after life. You live, then you die. Everything is geared toward living. The land of the living is obviously not a vacation paradise, currently it seems more like a war zone. If the resurrected Christ offers life after death in a world that only offers death after life, then that is something that we should shout from the roof tops!
Ben Franklin once penned his own epitaph: “Here lies the Body of B. Franklin, Printer. Like the Cover of an old book its contents torn out, and script of its lettering and gilding, lies here, food for worms, but the work shall not be wholly lost: for it will, as he believed, appear once more in a new and more perfect edition, corrected and amended by the author.”
We are the people of the empty tomb, and as such we have a hope that is eternal. If one feels like there is no way out…no hope? Remember that Jesus is alive! His nail scarred hands are extended, will we place our lives in them?
Pastor AL Weeks and his family serve in First Baptist Church of Kenai. The folks at FBCK are a warm fellowship of believers that are committed to speaking the truth in love. Join them Easter Sunday at 10:45 a.m.