Paul Harvey used to host a radio program called The Rest of the Story. It worked like this: he hooked the audience with a great opening, and then, when he had them on the edge of their seats, he’d reveal the identity of the famous person at the heart of the tale. But the show wasn’t over until you heard him deliver that famous catchphrase: “And now you know… the rest of the story!”
Every year on Good Friday, I can’t help but think about those words. I start to imagine what it must have felt like to be there with the disciples as they watched the man they knew to be the Messiah be crucified right there in front of them. As the Roman soldiers lowered Christ’s lifeless body from the cross, I’m almost positive that every single one of them must have been thinking that this is where the story ends.
But we know better…
The Bible tells us that when the sun rose on Easter Sunday, two women were already on their way to the tomb. They believed that they were going to anoint a dead man. But what they found instead was an empty grave and an angel who told them, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said” (Matthew 28:5-6).
“He has risen” – those three words turned “the end of the story” into the beginning of “the rest of the story.” The bodily resurrection of our Lord is what gives our lives as believers true meaning. Through his incarnate life and atoning sacrifice, Christ has turned “our story” on its head. In communion with the Father and Holy Spirit, he exercised his mighty and gracious Lordship over all things, conquering death and evil, redeeming us, restoring us, and bringing us back into communion with our Triune God. And by doing all this, he gave us hope, hope that God will one day set right all that is broken and bring joy to all who know him, trust him, turn to him to forgive and to be the source of their life.
As we remember the suffering and death of our Lord, I pray that we’ll remember that this wasn’t the end. It was just the beginning of… “The rest of the story!”
I’m Joseph Tkach, Speaking of LIFE.