April 17, 2014
In this depiction of the Resurrection of Jesus, the covering of his tomb has been ripped open and tossed aside. The tomb is empty. The grave is no longer the end. “Death is swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (1 Cor 15:54-55). Four of the guards at the tomb are fast asleep, completely oblivious of the great event taking place. Their death-like state cuts them off from the grace of the Resurrection, just as those in serious sin are truly dead to God. “The wages of sin is death” (Rm 6:23). Two of the guards are awake. Their faces show confusion. Something unexpected and inexplicable has taken place. They look to the Risen Jesus. Looking to Jesus is the first step in coming to faith.
Our eyes, our hearts, our very lives need to be centered on him. “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (Jn 14:6). Thus, each of us is to enter a personal relationship with Jesus. “There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given ... by which we are to be saved” (Acts 4:12). At the center of the painting, dominating the entire scene is Jesus, Risen from the dead, holding the victory banner in his left hand. Christ has trampled death and the gates of hell beneath his feet. He offers to those who believe in him the gift of eternal life. “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live (Jn 11:25).
Jesus raises his right hand in the gesture of blessing. From the Crucified and Risen
Jesus come all graces. He “is the one Mediator between God and man, Christ Jesus who gave himself as ransom for all” (1 Tim 2:5-6). The Risen Christ, even as he lingers over his empty tomb, is surrounded by light that is the glory of heaven.
He has been exalted to the Father’s right hand in glory. Yet, he is present to this world.
The Lord has not abandoned us. “I will not leave you orphans” (Jn 14:18). He is still with us and is drawing us to himself. “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself ” (Jn 12:32).