As I look upon the Easter Weekend and this verse in Matthew 28, I am struck by “He is not here!” Well then, where is he? He is seated at the right hand of God the Father (Luke 22:69). To be accurate, that is not actually what the text says in Matthew, but that is where we are going, for that is where He now is.
Is this a good thing? If Jesus really is who he says he is and Jesus really is where he said he will be, then yes, for “the right hand of God” is the prophetic statement of the Messiah to whom is given the power and authority to subdue His enemies (Psalm 110:1; Psalm 118:16). The same Jesus who loved his disciples, who healed the blind, who cared for Mary and Martha, who wept for Lazarus, who lived among us, who gave his life for you has now been given all power under heaven and earth to subdue his enemies, and because of his love for you, your enemies also. But more importantly, this power gives us something event better…
The author of the book of Hebrews describes it this way,
“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (4:14-16)
Grace and Confidence and Mercy and Grace. I like that kind of power, power wielded to overcome sin and usher us into the presence of the Father.
Is this a good thing? To have no Jesus on earth, but to have him in Heaven? Have we not been abandoned by the one who came? Surely not! Jesus himself, the one by whom, through whom and for whom all things were made (Colossians 1:15-20) tells us that there is something even better for us than his bodily presence on earth: the work of the Holy Spirit. Really, something better than Jesus on earth?
John records the words of Jesus in chapter 14. “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” He is not here! But He is coming back so that we can be with him again and with the Father also! But he has not abandoned us, he has not left us alone, for he has
“ask(ed) the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever -~the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”
Do you know the work of the Holy Spirit in your life? Do you know the love that the Father and Son have for the Spirit? Do you know that the Holy Spirit is the guarantee of Christ’s return (2 Corinthians 1:22)? Do you know that the comfort of the Holy Spirit makes real to us the grace and confidence and mercy of God? I like that kind of truth.
As we enjoy the Easter Weekend, let us celebrate not only the Love of God the Father who sent his son, and the sacrifice of Jesus the son who came to earth, but let us also celebrate the daily presence and comfort of the Holy Spirit who is with us still!