We observed Good Friday a couple of days ago to remember what Jesus did for mankind, the price Jesus paid for the sins of the world and for each one of us personally. We read about how He was rejected by society and His own people. He was cruelly treated by the Romans, beaten beyond recognition, suffered, died and was buried in a tomb for 3 days.
When the disciples witnessed Jesus’ death on the cross they were devastated and went into hiding. This wasn’t the first time someone had claimed to be the Messiah, who spoke of the kingdom of God. The disciples knew what had happened to those who had claimed to be the Messiah.
Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) Then the disciples went back to where they were staying. Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”). Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her. On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord (John 20:1-20).
On the third day, John saw the tomb and it’s contents. He saw the linen cloths lying on the ground, that Jesus’ body was not there, and immediately understood what this meant. According to verse 8, John “saw and believed” - he was persuaded by the evidence and knew that Jesus was resurrected.
On the other hand, when Peter saw the empty tomb and the linen lying there, he could not immediately understand what this meant. At this point, he had not yet come to the conclusion that Jesus was risen from the dead.
Even Mary wasn’t expecting to find a risen Savior that morning because after the disciples had left, she had mistakenly taken Jesus, who was talking to her at the tomb, for the gardener.
He told her to tell the others that He was alive and so she went and immediately gave them the good news, “I have seen the Lord!” But even the disciples had a hard time believing this until Jesus showed up in the locked room in which they were hiding.
The Bible says that once they realized the truth that Jesus had actually risen from the dead, they were filled with joy.
How do the above paragraphs reflect our own doubts and faith?
The Resurrection is:
1. The evidence that Jesus Christ is the Son of God
The thousands of years and hundreds of prophetic promises were given by God that a Savior would come to this world and describe Him from His birth to the type of death. He would suffer as the atoning sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. A considerable number of prophesies were validated on Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
Paul affirmed that Christ is
“declared to be the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:4).
2. The foundation for the Christian faith and hope
Without the coming of Christ, His death, and resurrection, there would be no basis for our salvation.
The Apostle Paul said:
But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile, and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied (1 Corinthians 15:13-19).
But Paul did not stop there, he said in vv. 20-22:
But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive (1 Corinthians 15:20-22).
The Apostle Peter said:
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1 Peter 1:3).
Even though we still suffer from the effects of sin, Christ’s resurrection assures us as Christians that sin and suffering are not the end of the story.
3. The proof that Satan, sin and death were defeated
[Jesus] canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross (Colossians 2:14-15 NLT).
The resurrection of Christ makes forgiveness for our sins possible. Death is our greatest enemy.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 NLT).
4. The resurrection is the guarantee of eternal life and a home in heaven.
Because the disciples saw Jesus for 40 days after the resurrection, they had evidence that death was not the end of human existence. His resurrection meant that we will continue to exist beyond death and remain accountable to God.
Just as the consequence of sin was death, the consequence of faith is resurrection and eternal life.
I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26).
5. The Resurrection changed the course of history forever
Virtually all scholars (secular and sacred) agree that shortly after Jesus was executed, His followers were suddenly transformed from a confused and cowering group into people preaching about a living Savior and a coming kingdom.
The question is, What had happened in their lives to have caused such a dramatic change? It was after the disciples saw Jesus physically alive that their lives were changed forever because they realized that their faith in Christ was founded on evidence, not in vain.
Their new life in Christ had meaning and purpose and they immediately began to live with this sense of purpose, through the power of the Holy Spirit.
They preached the truth of what they had witnessed at the risk of losing their lives (which many of them did). They preached the truth about a resurrected Savior. This was big news, something that had never happened before in the history of mankind.
The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, for the payment of the sins of the world is what we call the Gospel, or Good News. This was more than just a historical event.
If you are a Christian, and you know that Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection has changed the course of history, can you honestly say it has changed the course of your life? Is Christ really reigning in your life?
Our belief in the death, burial and resurrection should change the trajectory of our lives from now until eternity if we truly believe and rejoice this will be obvious in the way we think, what we say, our priorities, decision and habits.
Humans once had a perfect relationship with God, but sin separated us from Him. So He came to this earth and became a man, went through every emotion a person can go through, suffered and died for all of our sins, so that we could be restored back into this relationship with Him. Consider what the resurrection potentially means for you!
The resurrection is significant because it means that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that the foundation of our faith and hope is secure.
Satan, sin, and death are defeated, we have eternal life, and a home in heaven.
Let’s thank God and rejoice in this day and for all He has accomplished for us.