Someone asked me if I preached, “Jesus crucified.” I answered, “Yes, I preach Him crucified, but I also preach Him as the resurrected Lord and the enthroned King.” The cross and the tomb are empty, but His throne is now occupied. Sometimes the Church can park at a single image of Jesus and miss the bigger picture.
Jesus is all three images. He is our sacrifice on the cross. He is our victorious Lord Who rose from the dead. He is our King seated in glory. He is not just one image, but all three. When we preach Him as crucified we must include His resurrection. When we preach Him as the resurrected One we must let people know that He now sits upon a throne because neither the cross nor the tomb could hold Him any longer. His complete victory had a God-ordained sequence.
We can limit the fuller image of Who Jesus is when we only deal with a single aspect of His victory. Each image has a message. The cross lets us know that things must die before life can come. The empty tomb tells us that He rose up from something and went somewhere. The occupied throne tells us that the work of the cross and the emptying of the tomb were critical parts of His journey to His current destination on His throne. From this enthroned place all the powers and authorities of this world that fight against life are now under His feet.
Easter Sunday morning is coming soon. The angel told the women who gathered on that historic morning, as they stared at the empty tomb with puzzled faces, “He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead!” The angel was trying to point these disciples to a greater reality than the one they were seeing.
An empty cross leads to an empty tomb and that tomb leads to an occupied throne – that is the full Jesus-journey. On that throne sits the One Whom we will worship this Easter Sunday.