He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. Revelation 21:4
On April 15, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated.
The same day John Wilkes Booth took aim at the president, the secretary of state, William Seward, was also attacked and stabbed by a would-be murderer. There is little doubt that murderer would have succeeded if Seward had not been thrown from a carriage a short time before. Suffering a broken jaw in his fall, the secretary had to wear a metal splint around his neck. It was that splint which deflected most of the blows from the murderer's knife ... most of the blows, but not all.
Seward spent the next few days fighting for his life. On Easter Sunday he had recovered to the point where he asked to have his bed moved closer to the window.
Gazing out upon the city of Washington, he observed the trees were budding and spring was in the air. He also noticed the flag on the War Department building was being flown at half-mast. Not wishing to add sorrow to his injuries, the family had decided not to tell him of Lincoln's death. The half-mast flag told Seward the truth.
Seward began to cry. "The president is dead," he said. His nurse tried to deny it, but Seward knew his friend was gone. He cried uncontrollably, shaking and weeping until the bandages that held his wounds were soaked with tears and blood.
Twenty centuries ago, on a skull-shaped hill outside the city walls of Jerusalem, God's Son, the world's Savior, was crucified. On that day the best Friend the world has ever had, was unjustly put to death. Looking to that cross you might readily, and rightly, be moved to tears at the greatness of the love that was shown there, by the Lord's blood which was shed there. You can cry, "My Friend is dead!" And so He was. He had completed the work which had been assigned to Him, and with His last breath His job was completed, and your sins had been paid for.
It would be a sad thing, a terrible thing, if the picture of Jesus on the cross were the last image we have of Him.
But it isn't, is it?
Please journey to the empty tomb and believe, no, be sure that the Savior isn't dead. God's Son, who laid down His life for your forgiveness, is alive and well. No matter what other silliness the world may invent to share what happened in the days after the crucifixion, the historical record bears out the fact that Jesus is alive. Three days after His lifeless body was laid in the tomb, the risen Redeemer appeared to His disciples to let them know that death and grave had been defeated.
Again and again, and yet again, Jesus showed Himself to others. They saw Him, ate with Him, felt His breath, and touched His body. His appearance was no figment of the imagination, no mirage motivated by grief. Jesus lives, and because He lives, we shall also be victorious over death and grave.
That is the comfort we believers have. Our tears can be wiped away and, because of Jesus, we can rejoice that there will be a never-ending reunion in heaven for all who believe.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, because of sin this world is a sad place. Still, because of Jesus' death and resurrection, I know there is -- for all who believe -- a better life and a better world. By the Holy Spirit's power, may others come to know and believe in the living Lord Jesus. In His Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries