The world has heard many important messages, learned many great truths, and through human history seen many dramatic, far-reaching and life-changing events. Nothing, however, in the history of the world even comes close to the importance of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
His resurrection is, of course, the cornerstone of the Christian faith; it is the foundation of our salvation. It is the essence of our hope. It is because Jesus lives that we live. It is because He conquered death that we conquer death. It is because He went through the grave and out the other side that we shall do the same. He is the resurrection and the life, He said, and because He lives, we live. And whoever believes in Him shall live and never really die. That is the Christian hope.
Each of the four gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John with which the New Testament begins – presents the resurrection, each gospel writer focusing on special details. Together, the composite of the four gospels gives us the full picture of this monumental event. And obviously we don’t have time to look at them all. So, let’s look at the resurrection through Matthew’s gospel. Open your Bible again to Matthew chapter 28.
My intention, this morning, is to just give a simple and straightforward account of the resurrection, and a brief comment or two about its significance, and Matthew will aid us in doing that. Earlier in the service, I read this portion to you.
We’re going to look at the ten verses that I read from Matthew chapter 28, and they view the resurrection in a unique way, I think. They view the resurrection through the eyes of a group of women. A group of women who were familiar to the story of Jesus. They were Galilean women. They were sort of like the second line who followed Jesus. First there were His apostles, and then there were these women. And they appear at various intervals through the life and ministry of Jesus, demonstrating love, and care, and affection, and trust in the Lord. They are a special group, and they really are the window through which we will look at the resurrection. We’re going to see it through their attitudes and through their emotions as we look at the first ten verses of chapter 28.
The setting is given us in verse 1. The text says, “Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week” – you’ll remember that Jesus was crucified on Friday – Friday afternoon, before Sabbath; Sabbath coming at sundown, around 6:00 in the evening. And so now, it is, as the text says, after the Sabbath, and the original text would indicate long after the Sabbath, Jesus having been laid in the tomb on Friday. Saturday has passed by. Saturday evening at sundown ended the Sabbath. It is now dawning on Sunday morning. So, it is long after in the sense that it is many hours, perhaps 12 hours after the Sabbath has ended. It’s now the first day of the week, the third day that the Lord had been in the tomb. He was in the tomb a part of Friday, all of Saturday, and now a part of Sunday.
At that point, we’re introduced to the women. Verse 1 indicates “Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave.” We learn also that there were additional women there. Mark adds there was a woman named Salome, who was the mother of James and John and the wife of Zebedee. Luke adds there was a woman by the name of Joanna, the wife of Chuza who was one of the Herod’s stewards. John mentions only Mary Magdalene, but implies the other women by using the plural pronoun “we” in John 20.
This group of women were from Galilee. They were Galilean women. They were from the north. And there they had come to know about the Lord. They had traveled along with the Lord, and we see them, as I said, appearing at certain points. They, most notably of all, were there at the cross when all the other disciples - the men supposedly of strength and courage – had scattered in fear. The women showed up at the cross. They were there at His burial, as we read earlier. Chapter 27, verse 61, indicates that Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting opposite the grave when Jesus was being placed there. They remained after - lingering at darkness on that Friday night into the Sabbath - opposite the tomb, in grieving love.
And now it is Sunday, and they’re back. They must have started out from their dwelling place. We don’t know where they were staying; somewhere around Jerusalem. They came early in the morning, before the sun had risen, heading for the tomb. It says, at the end of verse 1, they came to look at the grave. That’s really all they had in mind; they just wanted to look at the grave, to see the tomb. No thought of resurrection is indicated, for none was really in their minds.
They had something else in mind, actually. They came to look at the grave, but something more. Mark 16:1 says, “They came with spices to anoint the body of Jesus.” Perhaps, after Sabbath had ended on the Saturday night – nothing could be purchased during the Sabbath – after Sabbath had ended, they had acquired some spices, and they were coming for one final anointing of the body of Jesus is an act of sympathy. And the first attitude we see of the women is sympathy. Sympathy, compassion.
The Jews did not embalm bodies, and so there was no real preservative for the rapid decay of human flesh. The body was wrapped in cloth. One cloth wrapped the body, another wrapped the head. Into the cloth were wrapped certain spices. Those spices would retard, a little bit, the severe odor. You remember that when Lazarus had been dead four days, there was concern about the stench of his body should the tomb be opened, because the decay would be severe by just that amount of time.
And these women, realizing that and wanting to do one last deed of honor, came with their spices to just refresh the body. Assuming they would be able to find a man who could roll the stone away, they would go in, and they would anoint the body again as an act of sympathy and compassion.
In Mark 16:3, Mark’s record of the resurrection indicates they didn’t know that the tomb had been sealed with a Roman seal and, therefore, couldn’t be opened. They didn’t know that a guard had been established in front of the tomb to keep any would-be grave robbers away. They assumed that they would just go there and they would find some man who would roll the stone away. They knew they were unable to do it because it was very large, but perhaps they could find someone of strength who would assist them.
And so, the first thing we see, when we look at this event, is sympathy. The first emotion, the first attitude was sympathy toward one they loved. They sympathized over Him. He was a kind and gracious man, obviously, to them. He was more than that; He was a man who forgave their sins. He was the one who taught them about God and the truth of God and the kingdom of God. He had endeared Himself to them as no other had ever done. And it was in view of Him as a great teacher, and as a sympathizing friend, and as a willing sacrifice for what He believed that they came out of compassion and sympathy to anoint His body in one final act of adoring love.
No sooner did they arrive, filled with sympathy, than the emotion of sympathy turned to terror. Look at verse 2. And this is the second emotion, the second attitude that we see. “Behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it.” Now, Matthew alone gives us this detail, and it is marvelous. The language is very simple and unmistakable.
The word “behold” indicates the surprise, the startling nature of the situation. There was a great earthquake. Though still approaching the garden, where the tomb was located, in proximity to Golgotha, where Jesus was crucified, they might well have felt the seismic waves that would be rumbling through the earth beneath their feet as they radiated from the epicenter at the tomb. This isn’t the first earthquake, however, to round the event of Jesus’ death. You remember that in chapter 27 of Matthew, in verse 51, it indicates that at the time that Jesus said “It is finished,” at the time He yielded up His Spirit, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom, and the earth shook. The rocks split, and tombs were actually opened, and the bodies of saints who had fallen asleep were raised. There had already been a resurrection; there had already been a significant earthquake. Here again is another seismic upheaval, a supernatural earthquake, a severe one – megas in the Greek, a mega quake. We don’t know what the number of that quake is. I don’t know that they had any way to measure those, but it was a mega quake, coming from the epicenter of the tomb itself.
What caused it? It wasn’t any shifting of plates in the ground. It wasn’t any physical phenomena at all. It was the arrival of an angel of the Lord descending from heaven who came, rolled the stone away and sat on it. By the way, the earthquake was not caused by Jesus leaving the tomb; it was caused by the arrival of the angel coming to the tomb. Nothing says that he came to let Jesus out. Nothing says that He rolled the stone away so Jesus could get out of the tomb. By the time the angel arrived, by the time the earthquake hit, by the time he rolled the stone away, Jesus was already gone. He had already arisen. He was alive and gone from the tomb. You see, He didn’t need the stone to be removed to get out; He simply could rearrange the molecules in His glorified body and move right through the rock. The same way, John 20:26 indicates to us that He appeared a week later to the apostles in the upper room, the door being shut. Again, He simply moved through the wall in glorified body form; He had that capability.
No one actually saw the resurrection. There is no record in the Bible of anyone who saw Jesus come through the rock, come out of the tomb. No one actually saw Him ascend from the wrappings and move out of that tomb. The only one who saw was God Himself. Sometimes you see a painting of the resurrection depicted, and the angel is pushing the stone away, and Jesus is emerging. That is not an accurate picture. Look at it this way: the angel didn’t move the stone to let Jesus out; he moved the stone to let the world in. He moved the stone so that the women and the apostles could come in and give testimony to the fact that Jesus wasn’t there. He moved the stone so that they could go in and see the grave clothes lying exactly as they were when they were wrapped around His body, indicating He went through them as well. The linen clothes weren’t even displaced. He left the tomb without moving the stone. He came forth in glorified form, unseen by anyone.
The angel arrived with an earthquake, rolled the stone back, laid it flat, and sat on it. There sat divine testimony to the resurrection an angel from heaven. As the women arrived, they see him. And what did they see? Verse 3, “His appearance was like lightning, and his garment as white as snow.” He has a supernatural brilliance because he comes as a supernatural being from a supernatural place. This angel takes on the character of shining glory, the glory of God in whose presence he dwells. He is transmitting the divine glory from his holy person. His raiment as white as snow indicates the purity, the holiness of this being right out of the presence of God.
When he appeared, and the earthquake occurred, and he moved the stone and sat on it, verse 4 says, “The guards shook” – literally, physically shook; it’s the same root Greek word as the word for earthquake, and the root is seisma. The guards had their own seismic experience. They shook out of sheer terror of seeing a heavenly angle – “and became like dead men.” They were paralyzed in unconsciousness. They went into a comatose state out of sheer terror, victims of the invasion of the supernatural. No comfort was offered to them, by the way. No comfort at all.
Later on, when they tried to tell the story of what had happened, they were bribed to lie. At the same time the guards were in a coma, the women were there. In verse 5, “The angel answered and said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid.’” Their sympathy immediately turned to terror. The scene was unlike anything they’d ever experienced in their entire life. They were in sheer terror. Their terror would be little different than the terror of the guards, with the exception of the fact that they at least had an angelology to hold onto. And the angel comforted them, “‘Do not be afraid,’ he said’” – stop being afraid; there’s no reason to be terrified – none at all. The soldiers had reason to fear when Christ arose, but not those who belonged to the risen Lord. The angel knew who they were, identified them, spoke to them, and said, “‘I know you’re looking for Jesus who has been crucified.’” That’s what they were looking for, coming to find His body, put some spies on it. They thought of Jesus only as dead. Gone. Their hearts were shattered and broken. They didn’t understand His promise. They loved Him so much that even though, from their viewpoint, He had failed them; He had failed to fulfill their kingdom hopes. They loved Him enough that they would minister to Him even though He were dead.
And I suppose, you know, we might expect a rebuke. We might expect the angel to say, “You know, it’s a little wearying for God to deal with you people who never believe anything Jesus says,” but he doesn’t.
It would have been reasonable, I suppose, from our viewpoint, to condemn their weak minds and feeble faith. But there’s none of that to the loyal, loving, and sympathetic women whose devotion to Jesus Christ is so clear there is no rebuke, only a word of comfort. And that’s notable, I think. That’s the way the Lord treats us in the times of our weak faith. That’s the way the Lord treats His own in the times of our mental feebleness, when we don’t understand the truth of God or believe it. There’s always comfort - even for us in our failures - dispensed by God; in this case through angels.
And then the angel brings them the word of encouragement in verse 6, “‘He’s not here, for’” – in the Greek, aorist passive, “‘He was raised.’” He was raised. He said He would be raised. And the angel said, “‘Just as He said.’” That’s a little bit of reminder of their weak faith. “‘He was raised.’”
Romans 6:4, Galatians 1:1, 1 Peter 1:3 says, “He was raised by the Father.” Romans 8:11 says, “He was raised by the Spirit.” John 10:18 indicates He raised Himself. He was raised by the consummate power of the Trinity. He was raised. He was raised from the dead. The point is He’s alive, just as He said.
In the account of Luke chapter 24, it says, “And they remembered His words.” He had said that He would come out of the grave. It was just too much to believe. And then the angel wants them to have the evidence, the reason he rolled the stone away, the reason he was there was to give divine and heavenly conformation of the miracle, and to assist them in being able to go in and see the tomb. The reason he came was to hit the Roman guard with a comatose jolt so they wouldn’t be any barrier, remove the stone, and let them in to see the evidence. And the evidence is amazing.
Verse 6, at the end, “‘Come see the place where He was lying.’” And in they went. They were so stunned. Luke tells us, in His account, that when they went into the tomb, the angel appeared again on the inside and reiterated the same message.
Some critics have said, “Well, you know, that may be a glitch in the text; that may be a problem for us if we’re going to have a commitment to an inerrant text to have one account saying it’s on the outside and another account saying it’s on the inside. But if you can only put yourself in the position of those women who have just seen the most shocking, the most startling, the most unbelievable thing they have ever seen in their entire life, and just been told about the most incredible and impossible miracle, it’s not too hard to imagine that the message needed to be repeated twice: once on the outside; and then when they went into the inside, in very similar words as recorded in Luke 24:3 and 4, the angel repeats the same great truth.
John adds, in chapter 20 of his account of the resurrection, verse 12, that another angel appeared as well, and that those angels were positioned, one at the head, where the garments were lying, where Jesus had been, and one at the feet. And so, like bookends, there were two angels, one at either end. One of them reiterating the message that had been given on the outside to the terrified and startled women. And there it was – empty. And there were those grave clothes, lying there, not as if they had been unraveled by some people who were in a mad rush to get the body out before the Roman soldiers could awaken, had they been sleeping, and catch them. Not as if someone had himself assisted them in sneaking by or detracting the Romans in some hurried escapade to try to steal the body. Not at all.
And I can imagine if somebody had wanted to steal the body, they wouldn’t bother to unwrap it in there anyway; they would just haul it out, unwrap it somewhere else or never unwrap it. Why would it be necessary to unwrap a corpse anyway? So, the fact that the grave clothes were there was significant. And the fact that they were lying there, in the same exact form as when the body was in them, was monumental testimony to a real resurrection, to say nothing of angels from heaven confirming it.
Beyond, however, the physical evidence, there would be a very personal appearance of Jesus. And the angel says that in verse 7. “‘Go quickly,’” - he says - “‘and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going before you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you.’”
The angel says there’s going to be a personal verification; there’s going to be a great convocation; there’s going to be a great assembly of His people, of the believers, and it’s going to be in Galilee. Galilee. Galilee of the nations. Galilee of the darkness where the light shined. Galilee where the Lord first ministered. Galilee where the Lord performed miracles. Galilee where the Lord first redeemed souls. Galilee where He was first hated and rejected. Galilee, the microcosm of the world in that place. They would all see Him in one great and final convocation which, by the way, is described down in verse 16, “And the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee” - as they had been told by the women – “to the mountain which Jesus had designated” - a specific place. “When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful. And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’”
It is as if Jesus distains Jerusalem, the religious capital, and goes to this out-of-the-way place, this place of uneducated and unrefined people, this place of mingled Jew and Gentile called Galilee, and finds that place to be the fitting place to give the Great Commission to His disciples to go and reach the world. The world in microcosm form was right there in Galilee. It served as an illustration of His intentions for the gospel to spread across the earth.
It was that meeting, that great convocation, that I think the apostle Paul was describing in 1 Corinthians 15, when he said Jesus would appear to 500 at one time. They would all be gathered there in Galilee for that great convocation. And before the disciples went to Galilee, there was a week or more of time still in Jerusalem. You remember that Jesus appeared this afternoon, the afternoon of this Sunday, to the disciples. He later appeared that evening to the disciples. And He appeared again the following Sunday evening, in the upper room, to the disciples. Those were appearances to just the disciples. There was another appearance to the disciples in Galilee prior to the main one of which the angel spoke, and that occurred and was recorded in John 21, where Jesus appeared to His disciples by the sea, when Peter was fishing, and gathered them around Him and instructed them, and we remember that in John 21. It’s a great text.
But the convocation of which the angel spoke is the great one when 500 at least came together to see Christ personally. It does indicate to us that there was n to a great number of people who had become followers of Jesus Christ in His lifetime. Even when the church was founded, on the Day of Pentecost, there were just 120 who gathered – remember? – in the upper room to pray. There were 3,000 converted on the Day of Pentecost, and numerous others after that. But the church, in its inception or the believers, initially, were small in number. And yet, 500 eyewitnesses is plenty to verify a resurrection. Every preliminary meeting in Jerusalem, and the one preliminary meeting in Galilee, were just preparation for this great assemblage that was to occur in Galilee when the Lord commissioned His people to take the gospel to the world.
All of this was a very terrifying experience. And even after the angel had told them what to do, and had told them that Christ had arisen and to go tell the disciples, and there would be a meeting in Galilee – even then, it says in verse 8, “They departed quickly from the tomb with fear.” The fear didn’t subside; the terror didn’t subside. It was just such an awesome, awesome reality. But, we come to the third emotion or the third attitude, and it starts to move on their hearts in that same eighth verse. And they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy and ran to report it to His disciples.”
All of a sudden, the fear is transitioning into a third emotion: joy. They’re starting to get it. It’s starting to sink in, “He is alive. He is alive.” And they do exactly as the angel told them to do with dispatch. And they run to reach the disciples with this ms, with this word from the angel that Jesus is alive.
Now, Mary Magdalene had earlier left them, and she had run to find Peter and John when she realized what was happening. So, at the very time that the remaining women were leaving to go tell the disciples, Mary Magdalene was sending back Peter and John who themselves were hurrying to the scene.
Women had a responsibility, then, to go to these disciples who remained and give them the message. And they do that. It’s recorded in the sixteenth chapter of Mark. They recited to the disciples their experience there. But already their hearts are beginning to well up with great joy.
And then the most wonderful thing happens. It says, “As they were running to report it to His disciples” – verse 9 – “and behold, Jesus met them and greeted them.” I read earlier from the New King James. It indicates that Jesus said the word “Rejoice.” That was the common greeting chairete. It was like saying hello to someone. It wasn’t something abnormal for him to say – sometimes it’s translated, “Hello” - or “All hail,” which is the Old English way of saying, “Hello.” The actual word means to rejoice. It’s like, “I’m happy to see you; it’s wonderful to meet you.” It was the simple, common greeting.
And again, it strikes me that the salutation of the risen Christ is just the common, normal, marketplace, business place highway and home salutation. Well, I’m sure He said it in a way the likes of which it had never been said before. I’m sure it had a majestic tone and touch, but it’s just a simple greeting. Just a lack of fanfare, the lack of being affected by all of this, the lack of trying to embellish this and make it somehow more believable is testimony to its simple voracity. I mean Jesus met them and, in effect, said, “Hello,” which seems plain, given the circumstances. And this is the fourth of their attitudes, “They came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him.” Joy turns to worship. They recognized His deity.
And by the way, “They took hold of His feet” indicates that He was not an apparition, He was not a figment of their imagination. He was not a dream; He was not a fantasy; this was not an illusion. They fell down; they took hold of His feet, seizing Him in adoring love, overwhelmed with thanks and wonder that He was alive, and they worshiped Him – proskuneō. They literally offered homage. They fell down and worshiped Him. They recognize, of course, that He is God, and they give Him worship due God and God alone. They are part of that contingent of whom the writer Paul says, in Philippians 2, “Every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess Him as Lord.”
Now, that’s the simple, straightforward narrative of this monumental even. We see it through the emotions of the women. And really, that’s the way we have to see it as well. Sympathy, terror, joy, and worship is sort of a process that I think anyone goes through who understands or comes to understand this.
When first you look at Jesus, you see Him as a good teacher, a gifted man, a lover of people, a healer, gentle, kind, caring, sympathetic. Then you see Him, perhaps, as a man who had a great cause for which He was willing to sacrifice His life. He lived a deprived life in terms of worldly gain and possession. He came to the end of His life and was willing to give His life for what He believed. And even hanging on a cross, with great sympathy He asked God to forgive the people who put Him there and executed Him.
So, you can see Jesus as the women saw Jesus. Initially you see Him with sympathy. You’re sympathetic; you’re somewhat compassionate; you feel a tenderness toward one who was of such character.
And as you look a little closer and a little longer, your sympathy will turn to terror, where all of a sudden you will see that this Jesus is more than just a man to be sympathized with. Just a man to feel empathy for. Just a man to feel compassion for. There’s something far beyond that here because of the supernatural character of His life. It’s true in His birth; it’s true in His life, the power of His miracles. It’s true in the statements He made about being a judge and how He was going to come with judgment force. It’s true in the way that He expressed that judgment power in the cleansing of the temporary – once at the beginning of His ministry, and again at the end of it.
But most notably, His power was manifest at the very moment of His resurrection, when He burst the bonds of death and came out of the grave. And when you look at Jesus, just treating Him with sympathy gives way to being terrified at this level of supernatural power, as you come to realize, however, this power was expressed in His resurrection so that you could conquer death and sin and hell and Satan, and live forever in the glorious, blessed presence of God. Terror should give way to joy, and finally joy should give way to worship.
We should come to the place – and we do every Sunday, on the first day of the week; that’s why we meet then – when we, like those women, fall at the feet of Jesus in adoring wonder and thank Him for dying for us and rising again to provide our justification. So, we have to look at the resurrection through the same emotions the women did if we want to fully understand it. It goes from sympathy – sympathy for someone who has been abused – to worship for the living, glorified, risen God.
The evidence is overwhelming for the resurrection: the empty tomb, the comatose Roman guard all literally given a divine anesthetic at once, grave clothes undisturbed, the testimony of angels out of heaven that He was risen, and eyewitnesses – hundreds of them.
A lawyer, by the name of Sir Edward Clark, wrote, ‘As a lawyer, I have made a prolonged study of the evidences for the events of the Easter Day. To me, the evidence is conclusive, and over and over again, in the High Court, I have secured the verdict on evidence not nearly so compelling. Inference follows on evidence, and a truthful witness is always artless and disdains effect. The gospel evidence for the resurrection is of this class, and as a lawyer, I accept it unreservedly as the testimony of truthful men to facts they were able to substantiate.” End quote.
Professor Thomas Arnold, who wrote the three-volume history of Rome and has the chair of modern history at Oxford writes, “The evidence for our Lord’s life and death and resurrection may be and often has been shown to be satisfactory. It is good, according to the common rules for distinguishing good evidence from bad. Thousands and tens of thousands of persons have gone through it piece by piece as carefully as a judge summing up a most important cause. I myself have done it many times over, not to persuade others, but to satisfy myself. I have been used for many years to study the histories of other times and examine and weigh the evidence of those who have written about them, and I know of no one fact in the history of mankind which is proved by better and fuller evidence than the great sign which God has given us that Christ died and rose again from the dead.” That in his book Sermons on the Christian Life: Its Hopes, Its Fears, Its Close.
Charles Hodge, the great theologian, said, “It is the best authenticated event in ancient history.”
Well, of course, armed now with all this truth about the resurrection of Christ, our hearts are filled with one final emotion, and that is hope. Hope. Hope. We no longer fear death. We anticipate it. When Jesus says, in verse 10, to them, “Don’t be afraid, go and take word to My brethren to leave for Galilee, and there they’ll see Me.”
And there, of course, they all go, and they gather, and He presents Himself to the alive, and He gives them the Great Commission, and they go forth with hope to spread the message of hope across the face of the earth. And I live with hope. And you who know Christ live with hope. Death has no fear for us, we live in hope.
“Because He lived” - John 14:19 – “we will live also.” “He is the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in Him will live even though he dies” – John 11:25 and 26. “We know that when we depart from this life, it’s to be with Him. Far better to depart and be with Christ.” “The day will come when we will put off this mortal flesh, and we will enter into what is called the glorious manifestation of the children of God in our eternal form, to live forever in the glories of His heaven.” “Absent from the body means present with the Lord.”
In closing, what does the resurrection affirm for us, summing it up? First of all, it indicates that the Word of God is true, because the Bible promised that the Messiah would rise from the dead - Psalm 16. Psalm 16, “Thou will not permit Thy Holy One to see corruption, but will show Him the path of life.” The promise of God was that the Holy One, the Messiah, would come; that He would never experience permanent death; He would never corrupt in the grave, but would go through the grave into the path of life. And Peter uses Psalm 16 in his Day of Pentecost sermon and indicates that it refers not to David who wrote it, but to the greater-than-David, the Messiah who fulfilled it.
In the road to Emmaus experience in Luke 24, Jesus opened the Old Testament and taught two unbelieving disciples about His death and resurrection from the Law, the writings, and the prophets. We can be sure, beloved, because of the resurrection, that the Bible is true. It is another verification of the veracity of Scripture.
Secondly, it is – the resurrection is proof that Jesus speaks truly. Whenever the Bible speaks, it speaks the truth. The resurrection proves that. Whenever Jesus made a promise it is true. And He said He would die. He said, “They will kill me.” But He said, “In three days I’ll rise again. Destroy this body, and in three days I’ll rise.” That’s exactly what He did. The resurrection indicates the truth of scripture and the veracity of the words of Jesus.
Furthermore, the resurrection indicates that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that He is God’s Son, the Messiah and Savior. It’s through the resurrection, Acts 2:36, that God has made Him both Lord and Christ. It says in Romans 1:4 that He was declared to be the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead. It is His resurrection that proves that He is God in human flesh.
Fourthly, it is the resurrection that seals our salvation. He was delivered up” - Romans 4:25 – “for our transgressions; He was raised for our justification.” He was raised to show that He had paid a sacrificial price that satisfied God. He was raised to show that God was satisfied with His substitutionary death. God raised Him from the dead to show that He accepted His sacrifice which provides our justification because He, having borne our sin, paid the penalty; God is then free to forgive us.
When you look at salvation, you’re looking at the resurrection. It is the resurrection that proves God was satisfied with the sacrifice of Christ and therefore can forgive our sins. The resurrection proves that we will receive eternal life. It is the resurrection that is the key to the sending of the Holy Spirit. He rose from the dead, ascended into heaven, and sent the Holy Spirit.
It is the resurrection and the ascension after the resurrection by which Christ is seated at the right hand of God and intercedes for us as a merciful and faithful High Priest. It is by the resurrection that Christ sent us His Spirit and also sent us, in the power of the Spirit, spiritual gifts by which we minister to one another.
It is by the resurrection that He infuses us with power to go into all the world and preach the gospel; to go into Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost part of the earth by the indwelling power of the Spirit.
It is by the resurrection that He presents to us a new identity. We die with Him; we rise with Him to walk in newness of life. All the features of our salvation and the coming of the Spirit, and our ministry, and our giftedness to the body of Christ, and our power to preach the gospel to the world is related to the resurrection. The risen Christ provides it all.
And then it is by the resurrection that the church is established. It is by the resurrection that He founds His church. Ephesians 1 tells us that He was raised from the dead and seated at the right hand of the Father in heavenly places. And the Father has put all things in subjection under His feet and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. And by the resurrection, the church is established and He as its head.
And further, it is by His resurrection that He demonstrates His right to be the final judge. He who conquered death has the power not only to bring Himself out of the grave, but to raise the righteous dead for the judgment unto life and to raise the unrighteous dead for the judgment unto damnation spoken of in John chapter 5.
It is by His resurrection that He has ascended to heaven to prepare a place for us – John 14 – a place for us in the Father’s house. What do we learn from the resurrection? That the Word of God is true; that the promises of Jesus are true; that Jesus Christ is deity, the Son of God; that salvation is complete and comprehensive. We learn from the resurrection that the church has been established. From the resurrection we are confirmed in the great truth that Jesus is the final judge of all men. We also learn from the resurrection that heaven is waiting for us, and our risen Christ is preparing a place for us.
All our hope hinges on this great cornerstone truth of the resurrection. And that’s why the church meets on the first day of the week, to ever and always be reminded that at the foundation of everything is the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Our Father, we thank You again for the testimony of the text – simple, straightforward, and yet so supernatural, so penetrating, so beyond us. And we rejoice. We want a God who is greater than we are. We want an infinite God who is way beyond us and can take us out of this painful world of suffering and sin to a place of eternal, infinite glory, joy, peace, and perfection.
We thank You that You are that God, and You demonstrated the ability to do that through raising Jesus from the dead. We long for the day when we shall be raised as well. We long for that day when we leave this world to enter into Your glorious presence. And in that future day, when all the bodies of believers across the face of the earth are raised to join those eternal spirits in Your presence forever, in glorified form like the risen Christ, to enjoy the fullness of all that You’ve prepared for those that love You, Father we pray that the truth of the resurrection might grip every heart and that many would believe that Jesus rose from the dead and confess Him as Lord and thereby be saved from their sin. To that end we pray, in His name, amen.
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