Today, Christians observe Palm Sunday, the commemoration of the day Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem, the first day of our Holy Week. Christ's entry into the central city of Judea was triumphal; hundreds lined His path, spreading palm fronds before Him and shouting hosannas as He passed. To one unacquainted with the next chapters of the story, it would sound as if the ascent of His New Covenant was complete.
Unfortunately, grievous suffering and a humiliating death had been ordained for His immediate future.
Christians speak of the Passion of Christ in ambivalent tones. Yes, we say, it was the Expiation His Father had decreed for the Redemption of Mankind, the remission of sins from one end of time to the other, and as such should not be mourned but honored. Yet that Expiation involved torturing to death the mortal body of the Son of God! It's rather difficult to celebrate such a thing, in the usual sense of the word "celebrate."
On one face, the Passion / Expiation; on the other, the Redemption. Christians are required to accept that neither can do without the other.
But it becomes a little easier to grasp when we embrace our own role in the affair:
For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. [Gospel According To John, 3:16]
The story is unfinished without that step. To believe in Him -- to accept Him as the Son of God and Savior of Mankind, and to embrace His New Covenant -- completes it. But that step requires accepting something more difficult than some are equipped to handle:
In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. And behold, there was a great earthquake, and the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye, for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell his disciples, that he is risen from the dead; and behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him; lo, I have told you. And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples the word. [Gospel According to Matthew, 28:1-8]
No one alive today witnessed the Resurrection. Yet according to Saint Paul, about five hundred persons saw the risen Christ in the forty days before His Ascension. More, Peter, Paul, James, and others of the Apostles later went to torturous deaths of their own, rather than deny Him or renounce the Great Commission: something that should be soberly considered when assessing whether the tale of the Resurrection is history or fiction.
No, it's not provable by the standards of mathematics, nor disprovable by the standards of the sciences. Yes, it's possible that every record of the era that speaks of Jesus, or of the deeds His Apostles performed and the sacrifices they made in His name, is utterly false. That's why accepting it requires an act of faith. Isn't that a rather small thing, compared to what He endured for our sake?
All ye that labor, come unto Him.