It was the first day of the week. There was surprise and astonishment in what they found…or in what they did not find.

It was empty, and the two men standing there asked them why they were there? Why were they looking among the dead for the living.

The tomb was empty. The stone was rolled away, not for him to exit, but for them to enter and see the burial garb lying neat, wrappings now flattened as the prisoner they contained was no longer present.

Are all Christians as surprised by Christ’s victory? Do we look at the crosses in our churches, especially the one’s with Christ still hanging, as though he is still hanging there all these centuries later?

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Luke’s account in 24:1-12 is really the fulfillment of Abraham’s promise in Genesis 22.

3   And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.

4 Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.

5 And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.

6 And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together.

7 And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?

8 And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.

What Is God’s Nature? God is love. Zephaniah 3:17 declares his love for everyone.

For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.

God is also just. In Deuteronomy 25 we see his justice extend even to correctly measuring things. Specifically this text instructs us to measure all things rightly, and have no partiality when we do.

13 Thou shalt not have in they bag divers weights, a great and a small. 

14 Thou shalt not have in thy house divers measures, a great and a small.

15 But thou shalt have a perfect and just weight, a prefer and just measure shalt thou have: that thy days may be lengthened in the land which the LORD they God giveth thee.

16 For all that do such things, and all that do unrighteously, are an abomination unto the LORD they God.

God is merciful. Deuteronomy 4 declares this.

31 (For the LORD they God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of they fathers which he aware unto them.

He is not only the epitome of love, justice, and mercy, but he is all these together at once. No part of his nature is isolated from any other part. He cannot execute justice and not be loving. He cannot be merciful and ignore justice.

God did not just ‘let mankind off’ after he disobeyed and walked out of his will.

The command not to eat of the fruit was not for the sake of the fruit, nor for the prevention of wisdom in mankind. It was given to allow us to walk into his obedience without seeing any logic in the command. We were given the opportunity to love him through obedience without knowing why.

And that is why God is good. He gives us a choice to obey when we can in fact ask him why we should not obey. We should not expect an answer to why.

God’s nature of love causes him to reach out to us. Indeed his nature requires him to do it. That’s just how much love there is ‘God is love!’

His justice requires him to mark us as trespassers in our disobedience. The sentence must be carried out. It is death.

His mercy is so great that where he stopped Abraham from killing Isaac, for our sakes, he did not stop Jesus Christ from dying as our sacrifice for our sin. Jesus Christ did die for only that reason.

Because he is our creator, he could only die when he himself speaks the words ‘It is finished.’ His life was not drizzled out on the cross like the men hanging beside him. It is by his own command that he takes up he life once again.

And therein is our true surprise. God the Son provided himself as the sacrifice to God the Father and all of God’s nature was manifest at the same time.  Only the character of God can do this.

In Christ Jesus, mercy kisses justice, and we are able to each walk free from our prison cell.

 

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