THURSDAY WITHIN THE OCTAVE OF EASTER
The Christ would suffer and rise from the dead.
Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive . . . It’s Superman! In that famous comic, the bad guys didn’t stand a chance when Superman arrived on the scene. He always defeated them. Readers knew the story line, and it was fun to watch it unfold.
In a way, this was the “story line” that many Israelites expected for their hoped-for Messiah. When God sent his Anointed One to rescue his people, he would come with power, and through him, God would utterly destroy Israel’s enemies. Nobody expected a Messiah who would suffer and die. That would be like Superman being defeated! Such an ending doesn’t just ruin the script; it means he’s not Superman—or the Messiah.
In fact, when God did send the Messiah, one of the things that most confused even Jesus’ own followers was that he had suffered and died. “We were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel,” the disciples told the risen Lord on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:21). Because he had been crucified, it seemed obvious to them that he wasn’t who they had hoped he would be.
But Jesus’ resurrection burst that old script to pieces. As he explained to these two disciples on that first Easter Sunday, the Scriptures actually did foretell a Messiah who would suffer and rise again (Luke 24:46). God had indeed freed his people from their worst enemies, but he did it by taking on human suffering and by draining it of its power.
The great surprise of the gospel is that the Messiah was not Superman. He was far greater. He suffered and died out of love for humankind—love for you, personally, and for everyone else. But through that suffering, he was victorious. God’s perfect love, not superhuman strength, defeated sin and death.
We don’t have to be Supermen and women, either. We don’t have to rely on our own strength; the risen Jesus empowers us to walk in his ways. And when we do sin, we know that because of Jesus’ suffering and death, we can repent and be forgiven.
This is a story line only God could have written. Today, praise him for all he has done for you in Christ!
“Lord Jesus, thank you for dying and rising out of love for me!”
Psalm 8:2, 5-9