It was hopeless then, it is hopeless today, and it will always be hopeless. Try as they may, people can’t keep Jesus down. They can’t keep him buried. They may use physical force or academic scorn or media blackout or political harassment or religious caricature. For a season they will think the tomb is finally sealed. But it never works. He breaks out.
It’s not hard to figure out: He can break out because he wasn’t forced in. He lets himself be libeled and harassed and black-balled and scorned and shoved around and killed.
I lay down my life, that I may take it again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. (John 10:17-18)
No one can keep him down because no one ever knocked him down. He lay down when he was ready.
If China was closed for forty years to the Western missionaries, it’s not because Jesus slipped and fell into the tomb. He stepped in. And when it was sealed over, he saved 50 million Chinese from inside—without Western missionaries. And when it was time, he pushed the stone away so we could see what he had done.
Thank you, Lord Jesus, for laying down your life and taking it up again, for us and for our salvation, and for God’s everlasting glory.