Spring! Pussy willows, tulips, newborn calves, and gophers popping up all over the fields! It is the time of new beginnings, renewed life. The dead leaves and grass, buried under their rapidly melting shrouds of snow, can hide the vitality for a time, and then the warmth of the sun frees hidden life to wondrous fresh growth.
We who live in climates of clearly defined seasons have the marvelous annual opportunity to witness a dramatic visual display that symbolizes the most important event in history, life coming out of death.
It happened one spring nearly 2000 years ago, halfway around the world. The person whose life had ended was considered to be a troublemaker by some, a threat to the political and religious establishment, with much too much influence on the common man. Those in authority wanted him dead. They couldn’t find any crime to convict him of however, so when his illegal trial was held, he was convicted for telling the truth about himself.
His death sentence was carried out by the government of the day. Their means of execution was uniquely horrible and cruel, incurring death by slow suffocation while suspended from a cross made of wood . . . a slow death, so slow that the impatient soldiers in charge would often break the legs of the prisoners, sudden shock bringing an end to the process, so they could go home. But they didn’t need to break the legs of this one. He was already dead when they came to him. Evidence reveals that his death was not by suffocation nor by shock, but that his heart literally ruptured and his blood was poured out.
His family and friends had been told that he would rise again, but just like you and me, or anyone who knows about life and death, they did not believe that or seem to understand. They felt no hope. They mourned. But they didn’t have to.
This Jesus Christ, whom they had given up everything to follow, was no ordinary man. Just as His life was not an ordinary life, His death was not an ordinary death. God pronounced that death comes to all who sin, but in His life, this man had never sinned. Therefore, death had no claim on Him. He died for someone else. Furthermore, in His life, He claimed to be the Son of God, and three days after His death, He proved it. He walked out of His tomb.
What does this have to do with us and with spring? Just This: Jesus Christ said, “I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth on me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die” (John 11:25,26).
Just as the cold dark of winter cannot destroy plant and animal life, neither can the grave destroy those who put their trust in the One who conquered death. His own resurrection guarantees it.
And just to make sure that we have ample reminders of this event, and of His promise, He repeats it over and over again: in His Word, in the changed lives of those who believe, and in the marvelous season that we call Spring.