Unleashing God's Truth, One Verse at a Time

Testimonies to the Resurrection

Mark 16:1-8

Code: 80-406

Thank you for being here with us for this celebration of our risen Christ. We are reminded once a year on Easter of His resurrection, but, of course, every Sunday when the church gathers, it remembers that He rose on the first day of the week, and that’s why we meet when we do.

The resurrection is not just one element in the Christian story; it’s not just one feature of Christianity--it is the main event. The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave is the greatest event in history. It is the major moment, the major reality in redemption. It is the cornerstone of gospel promise. It is the primary theme of worship and praise because the resurrection is the source of eternal life for believers; because He lives, we live also. Without the resurrection, the cross, the death of Christ, would be meaningless. Without the resurrection, the cross would be powerless. If Christ is not raised, says the New Testament, then your faith is worthless and you are still in your sins...if Christ is not raised.

The resurrection is not a postscript. The resurrection is not an epilogue. It’s not an appendix at the end of the story. It is the climactic high point of the work of Christ, of the saga of redemption, of the purpose of God to save His people. The church doesn’t meet on Friday. The church meets on Sunday. We’re thankful for the cross, but we celebrate the resurrection as making the cross meaningful. And so we meet every first day of the week as we mark out the significance--the singular significance--of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is the cornerstone of our faith.

Because the resurrection is so important, it is a major theme in the New Testament. For example, all four gospel writers (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) tell the story of the resurrection. And as I read to you earlier from One Perfect Life, their accounts and their very words blend together in a perfect harmony. Each writer takes a look at the resurrection from his own vantage point, identifying certain features and elements and words in conversation from people and angels. But all four of them brought together give us a composite account that is perfectly accurate and inerrant as to the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

You heard me read the mingling of four gospels and when you listened to it, you knew it was a seamless story, every part fitting with every other part. Even with those histories, it must be noted that there’s one part missing. Matthew doesn’t describe it. Mark doesn’t describe it. Luke doesn’t describe it. And John doesn’t describe it, and the part that’s missing is there is no record of the actual event of the resurrection. There is no description. We know what happened leading up to the resurrection. We know what happened in response to the resurrection. We don’t know anything about the resurrection, as to the phenomenon itself. It is, of course, supernatural. It is incomprehensible. We know it happened because of the results. The fact is attested by ample, massive evidence that Jesus rose from the dead. But there is no attempt on the part of the gospel writers to explain to us the inexplicable. We could actually go to any of these four accounts, but for this morning let’s look at the shortest account, that’s the account of Mark. So turn in your Bible to Mark, chapter 16, Mark chapter 16.

Mark’s gospel actually ends at verse 8, chapter 16, verse 8. There are some other verses added from verse 9 to 20, but they were not a part of the original text. The abrupt ending of Mark left some people with the idea that they needed to complete the story and so they added to the Scripture. There will be a note in your Bible indicating that this is added and does not appear in the early manuscripts. Mark actually ends in verse 8, so let’s read those last eight verses of his gospel.

Verse 1, “When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome bought spices so they might come and anoint Him. Very early on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. They were saying to one another, ‘Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?’ Looking up they saw that the stone had been rolled away, although it was extremely large. Entering the tomb they saw a young man sitting at the right wearing a white robe and they were amazed, And he said to them, ‘Do not be amazed, you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene who has been crucified, He has risen. He is not here. Behold, here is the place where they laid Him. But go, tell His disciples and Peter He is going ahead of you to Galilee, there you will see Him just as He told you.’ They went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had gripped them and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.”

Well, each of the four gospels gives differing details together in a very natural way. They blend all the features together and there’s no contriving, and there’s no manipulating, and there’s no rather fumbling effort to make sure that everything lines up like ducks in a row. This is the integrity of Scripture, four viewpoints, four perspectives all seeing the elements of the same great monumental event, all controlled by the one author--the divine Holy Spirit--to make sure that the record is absolutely true. All four, for example, record that Jesus died. I mean, that He really died; that He was truly dead and they give testimony to the fact that He was truly dead. They all give the record that He was buried and that He was buried on Friday, that He was buried in a tomb and that tomb was sealed with a stone, and that tomb was guarded by Romans. They all tell us that, however, on Sunday that stone was removed, that guard had vanished, that tomb was empty, and angels explained what had happened. And then Christ began to appear to His followers, first to the women, and then the disciples, and then to hundreds. They all tell the same story.

There is absolutely not one single contradiction. It is the same event. They didn’t write from some common historical source, they wrote from personal experience, or personal conversations and guided and superintended by the Holy Spirit. So when you come to the resurrection and you want to know the validity and the reality of the resurrection, it isn’t the actual supernatural event that gives us the proof we need, it’s everything going on around it. That’s where the evidence lies.

While the event itself is inexplicable and supernatural and cosmic in some ways, the evidence is natural and physical, and visible, and discernible, and audible. Let’s just look at three lines of evidence that Mark draws for us here as to the resurrection of Christ. The first is the testimony of the empty tomb. Now let me just stop before I get into it and say this: that’s a very convincing argument. An empty tomb is a very convincing argument. There is no record anywhere in the Scriptures or outside the Scriptures to indicate that anyone found Jesus in the tomb after Sunday morning. There is no testimony to that effect. All testimony is to the fact that the tomb was empty.

Now remember, our Lord had said that He would die. In fact, in Mark He said it in chapter 8, He said it in chapter 9, He said it again in chapter 10, which means those are simply illustrations of what He was probably saying a lot. He was going to die. He even described that He would be arrested by the leaders of Israel, He would be crucified, He would be buried, He would be in the grave for three days, and He would rise again. He gave those details. He started saying that at the beginning of His ministry in John 2; He said, “Destroy this temple, in three days I’ll...I’ll build it again, I’ll raise it up.”

He said in Matthew chapter 12 that as Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days, so the Son of Man will be in the earth for three days. Repeatedly through His ministry, in the beginning, in the middle, and in a flourish of repetitions at the end He said He would die and He would rise the third day. And that is exactly what happened, and we see Mark’s account of it here. Let’s begin to see the testimony of the empty tomb in verse 1.

“When the Sabbath was over.” Let me stop there and remind you of this, that Jewish days were counted from sunset to sunset, sunset to sunset. We count days from midnight to midnight. They counted them from sunset to sunset. Perhaps a more obvious way to count if you didn’t have mechanical clocks, of course. So the Sabbath day, like any day, would end at six or sunset. At sunset, Sabbath had ended, Sabbath is over. Luke says it is the first day of the week. They didn’t have names for days. There’s no equivalent for Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc. They simply spoke of numbers with reference to Sabbath. The third day before Sabbath, the second day after Sabbath, that’s how they identified their days. So Sabbath is over.

It is therefore what Luke says the first day of the week. For us that would be Sunday. Now we know it’s morning because we read here that very early on the first day of the week, just as the sun had risen. So we’re probably twelve hours into that first day. And just as Jesus had said, on that third day He would rise from the dead.

So significant is His resurrection on that day that we’re here on this Sunday, this first day of the week. For centuries the day of worship had been the seventh day, the Sabbath day. It had been the Sabbath virtually since creation, since God rested in His creation. But from that resurrection Sunday on, no Sabbath has ever been necessary. No Sabbath has ever been required. Colossians 2:16 says, “Let no one hold you to any Sabbath day.” Sabbath is no longer the legitimate day for the people of God to worship. The church defines its new life and the celebration and worship of that new life as a celebration of the risen Christ and that sets it on day one of every week.

You go in the book of Acts and the church is meeting on the first day of the week. You go to 1 Corinthians and the church in chapter 16 is meeting on the first day of the week. It became known as the Lord’s Day and in Revelation 1:10 John says he was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day. We still call it the Lord’s Day, don’t we?

So it’s early on the Lord’s Day, the very day that Jesus said He would rise from the dead. And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome bought spices so they might come and anoint Him. These are the women who are with Jesus. Go back, if you will, to verse 40 of chapter 15. We’re here at the cross and there were women there looking on from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James the Less and Joses and Salome. When He was in Galilee they used to follow Him and minister to Him. And there were many other women who came up with Him to Jerusalem.

When Jesus was doing His ministry in Galilee, which lasted a long, long time, well over a year, He collected male disciples, for sure--the ones we’re so familiar with and many other followers among men. But He also collected many, many women. Many women followers who ministered to Him, who cared for Him in ways that you would assume women would care for Him, providing for His needs. And this collection of women followed Him down to Jerusalem for the Passover. They were there at the triumphal entry. They were there during the week as He taught in the Temple. They were there at a distance looking at the cross, when, by the way, with just the exception of John, all of His male disciples had fled. They were there. Luke includes a woman named Johanna and says there were many other women. Matthew includes the wife of Zebedee, the mother of James and John. So there’s this group of women who are there, and they happened to be there watching when Jesus was buried.

Go back to verse 46. “When Joseph brought a linen cloth, took Jesus down off the cross, wrapped Him in the linen cloth, laid Him in a tomb which had been hewn out in the rock, rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses were looking on to see where He was laid.”

What a precious group of women were drawn to Him and to the truth of His message. They believed in Him; they loved Him; they served Him as true disciples and followers of Him in Galilee. They were taken with Him down to Jerusalem. They were there for all the horrors of that final week, including the cross. They didn’t abandon Him there even when His body was taken off the cross. They followed Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, and you remember those two men took Him to Joseph’s tomb. Nicodemus was with Him as we read earlier. Nicodemus is bringing a hundred-pound weight of powdered aloes to literally dump on His body to basically cover up the horrible stench of a decaying body as a way to honor Him. They follow. They sit at a distance. They watch this huge amount of powder being dumped on the body as He is placed in this tomb. And then they sit there and watch the stone being rolled away.

They weren’t going to be outdone by those men. And it wasn’t a matter of proper burial, as such. The Jews didn’t embalm, but that might have been enough, a hundred-pound weight in their terms. The equivalent in our terms would probably be about 65 pounds as we know them. That’s a lot. It wasn’t that there needed to be more; it was that they needed to honor Jesus from their hearts. And so they bought spices that they might come and anoint Him. This was their tribute to the one who was their Master and Lord, and they came on Sunday--very early on the first day of the week they came to the tomb when the sun had risen.

Here’s another one of the wonderful, natural realities of these stories. Mark says very early when the sun had risen. Luke says they came at the early dawn. Matthew says they came when it began to dawn. John says they came when it was still dark. All of those are true because dawn is not a static event; it is a moving event and it is dark and light at the same time. The natural descriptions given by each writer are a testimony to the integrity of Scripture. It is by every measure daybreak, and daybreak is moving through various phases. The sun, most likely, had risen over the eastern flat desert and the desert would have been bathed in the sunlight of a spring morning. But the sun had not ascended fully up over the Mount of Olives which shaded the city of Jerusalem on the east. Maybe you could see the light glow of the sun over the crest of the Mount of Olives, but the city was still in shadows until that sun appeared over the Mount of Olives and the city was lit. This is darkness, the darkness of the dawn.

John says that while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came first to the tomb. She started out with another Mary, and there are lots of Marys. That’s the most popular Jewish name, and that’s the name of Miriam because Miriam was one of the most popular women in the Old Testament--the sister of Moses who had protected him, the great hero of Israel. So Mary Magdalene comes first. She doesn’t start out alone. Matthew says she started out with another Mary who was the mother of James and Joses, and they both headed to the tomb in the dark, the dark of dawn. Mary Magdalene got there first--maybe younger, maybe more excited and enthusiastic. John says Mary Magdalene came early to the tomb while dark, but it was light enough for her to see that the stone was rolled away, the stone was rolled away. She’s arriving on the dark side of the dawn, but she can see that the stone is removed. She stops dead in her tracks at that moment. She’s there before her companion arrives, and she spins on her sandals and leaves.

There’s no record that she had countered the other Mary or the other women who were also trailing along. She had one thing in mind: she had to go tell Peter, she had to go tell Peter. She had to go tell the apostles. She bolts and heads for Simon Peter in John, and she’s drawn a hasty conclusion, according to the gospel of John. And her conclusion is somebody stole Jesus’ body, somebody stole Jesus’ body. The thought of a resurrection doesn’t enter her mind. Although she, along with the rest, had been told by Jesus that He would rise again on the third day, she doesn’t believe that. She doesn’t believe it. She leaves at the darkest part of the dawn. She doesn’t see anybody else. By the time the others arrive, more light has appeared. She leaves in a hurry. She has one thing in mind: she’s got to report what has happened. She heads for Peter and John. Verse 3 then says, “The other women show up and as they approach the tomb, in the dawn, they were saying to one another, ‘Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?’” This is a very large stone, an extremely large stone, according to verse 4. They don’t have any capability of moving that great stone. Who is going to do that? They know the stone is there, because they were sitting watching, weren’t they?, when the stone was placed there by Joseph and Nicodemus and anybody they may have had to help them.

They have no idea that there has been a resurrection. Matthew fills in some of the gaps. Listen to what Matthew says: “Before they arrived”...before Mary Magdalene arrived, before any of the women arrived, we read, verse 62 of Matthew 27, that...“Pilate gave permission to the Jews to seal the tomb.” Why? Because they said, “We remember, sir, that when He was still alive, that deceiver said ‘after three days I’m going to rise again.’ So give orders for the grave to be made secure until the third day, otherwise His disciples may come and steal Him away and say to the people, ‘He is risen from the dead,’ and the last deception will be worse than the first. So Pilate said to them, ‘You have a guard, go make it as secure as you know how.’ They went, made the grave secured, along with the guard they set a seal on the stone.”

Now the women don’t know this. All the women know is there’s a stone there because they saw Joseph and Nicodemus put the stone there and then they left. In the meantime, the leaders of Israel want to secure this grave thinking the disciples would try to fabricate a resurrection.

Isn’t it interesting that the unbelievers had more confidence in the fact that they might fake a resurrection then the disciples had, and that there would be a real one?

Well, “it began to dawn,” Matthew 28, “toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene, the other Mary came to look at the grave, but before they arrived, this had already occurred, a severe earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it and his appearance was like lightning and His clothing as white as snow, and the guards shook for fear of Him, and became like dead men.”

They think, “Who’s going to help us roll the stone away?” Go back to Mark 16:4, “They look up, they saw the stone had been rolled away, though it was extremely large.” They didn’t know how. They didn’t know there had been a Roman guard. They didn’t know there had been a seal. They didn’t know there had been an earthquake. They didn’t know the stone had been rolled away. They didn’t know an angel had appeared there. They didn’t know the Romans had fled. All they saw was an open tomb. It’s kind of wonderful to know all the details, isn’t it, that they didn’t know?

And by the way, the tomb wasn’t opened to let Jesus out; it was opened to let them in. Jesus appeared going through a door later that day. He certainly could have gone through a stone. The soldiers hadn’t left any guard. They were in panic when an angel appeared and an earthquake--a transcendent heavenly being--and they ran in terror.

They came out of some kind of comatose stupor and had to go back and report what had happened because it was going to become obvious. The stone was rolled away, there was no one there. So they go back to report what has happened. And no one is there. And so verse 5 says, “The women entered the tomb, they entered the tomb.” And Luke adds, “They didn’t find the body of the Lord Jesus.”

Maybe Mary was right. Somebody stole His body. Somebody came and took Him. Did the disciples come and take Him to fake a resurrection? Well, let’s just stop for a moment at this point and say this. The whole point of all of this testimony that I’ve given you is just to let you know the tomb was empty, the tomb was empty. We know the Jewish leaders didn’t steal His body cause they were afraid the disciples would. We know the disciples didn’t steal His body because they didn’t know where it went. We know the women didn’t steal His body because they didn’t know where it went either. We know the Roman guards didn’t steal His body because that was a breach of duty that would cost them dearly. Everybody gives testimony to the empty tomb. And there’s nobody who’s responsible to take it. Oh, it was grave robbers. Some say grave robbers. Really? The Roman guard was there to prevent grave robbing disciples or any grave robbers for that matter.

The body was there on Friday. The tomb was sealed with a large stone. The Roman guard with all of its authority and might was placed there. No one who followed Jesus Christ even believed that He would rise from the dead, so they had no motive to fake a resurrection. There is nobody to steal the body but the body’s not there. And that’s the testimony of the empty tomb.

Quite interestingly when the soldiers finally arrive to report to the Jewish Sanhedrin, chapter 28 of Matthew verse 11, they reported to the chief priests what had happened. What did they tell them? They told them there was an earthquake. They told them there was a shining angel sitting on the stone after it had rolled away in blazing white. They told them what they had experienced. They didn’t tell them anybody stole the body, nobody did. So they assembled with the elders, the chief priests got the Sanhedrin together, and we’ve got a problem.

So what they decided to do was bribe the soldiers. They gave them a large sum of money to...they said to them in verse 13 of Matthew 28, “You are to say this, ‘His disciples came by night and stole Him away while we were asleep.’” You are to confess to a breach of duty and lie for money. “And if this should come to the governor’s ears, we’ll win him over and keep you out of trouble.” And they took the money and did as they had been instructed and this story was widely spread among the Jews and is to this day.”

The day when Matthew wrote that, it was still out that the disciples had come and stolen the body because that’s the lie the Romans were paid to give. So what do we conclude? The women testify to an empty tomb. The soldiers testify to an empty tomb. Peter and John will show up soon and they testify to an empty tomb. The Sanhedrin testifies to an empty tomb, including the elders of Israel and including the chief priests--everyone says the tomb is empty. And the only explanation there is is a lie, and it is a lie concocted by the Jews. No one says Jesus is still there.

Now add to the testimony of the empty tomb the testimony of angels. That’s the second line in this brief passage. The angel speaks. By the way, there were two angels on this occasion. Luke says two of them suddenly stood near them in dazzling clothing. John also says there were two. They started by standing near them and then they sat down. This is the one who spoke of the two angels. They saw a young man sitting at the right wearing a white robe, and they were amazed, and he said to them, “Do not be amazed, you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene who has been crucified”--here’s the first declaration--“He has risen. He is not here. Behold, here is the place where they laid Him.”

Two angels, two witnesses (Deuteronomy 19:15); two witnesses, only one of them speaks. I think this angel had more to say, if I can be so bold as to assume that. I think this is a representation of what the angel said. He may have had to repeat it and clarify it because they were so shocked. They had no idea of what had happened.

After the trial, after the scourging, after the crucifixion they had no idea. There’s an empty tomb and then this shocking presence. And so the only thing they can do is be amazed. “Amazed” is a word; it’s an interesting word. It means to be awestruck in a kind of terrified way, not a kind of happy amazement, but a kind of frightening alarm, a panic--the kind of panic that set in a lot of times in Scripture when a heavenly visitor appeared. They’re literally frozen. Luke says they were terrified to the degree that they bowed their faces to the ground. In fact, he uses a compound word in Greek that it contains the word phobos from which we get phobia, which is fear. They were literally terrified, white knuckle, pale-face terrified.

But don’t be terrified, he says. You’re looking for Jesus the Nazarene, identifying Him from Nazareth, who has been crucified. Luke says the angel also said, “Why are you seeking the living one among the dead?” And then the first statement of the resurrection, “He has risen.” Literally, passive, “He has been raised.” Romans says He was raised by the Father. He is not here: “Behold, here is the place where they laid Him.” Now you have added to the testimony of an empty tomb, the testimony of heavenly, holy angels. This is the only plausible explanation for the empty tomb. He has been raised, He has been raised. This is the testimony of heaven,

To deny the resurrection of Jesus Christ, to deny the historical reality of an empty tomb, it’s also to deny the heavenly revelation, God Himself, through His holy angels. And then there are a third eye-witnesses, a third line of testimony, “Go tell the disciples and Peter, He’s going ahead of you to Galilee, there you will see Him just as He told you.” All you need to know about His resurrection, you will experience. And by the way, that very day He met some of the disciples on the road to Emmaus, right? Luke 24. That very night He met all of the disciples in the Upper Room. A week later, on the next Sunday night, He met them again in the Upper Room and soon after that, He met them all when they finally got to Galilee where they were supposed to go. I don’t know why they delayed so long.

But when they eventually got to Galilee, He showed up in Galilee as well. A wonderful account of that in Matthew 28 and a long account of that in the last chapter of John’s gospel; John 21 where He confronts Peter and asks him if he loves Him, and recommissions him. All of that happened post-resurrection in Galilee. And in Galilee, Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15, 500 people saw Him.

So the women saw Him. Mary Magdalene will see Him soon. The women will see Him soon. Peter and John and the rest of the disciples will see Him in the evening. Some of the disciples saw Him in the afternoon. They’ll see Him a week later. They’ll see Him in Galilee. And according to Acts chapter 1, He spent forty days with them, speaking to them of things pertaining to the kingdom of God--forty days of intimate fellowship and teaching and instruction. Massive eyewitness testimony to the risen Christ, massive.

I’m sort of surprised that we escape this last two weeks, the Easter season, without having somebody come up and say they had found the bones of Jesus again. They seem to do that virtually every Easter. Nobody has ever found the body of Jesus because the body of Jesus is in heaven in glory. The astonishing wonder of their experience at the tomb unfolds into eye-witness accounts. The disciples see Jesus, they eat with Jesus, they touch Him. They see His nail prints. They see the spear scar in His side. But for now, they fled from the tomb, verse 8, for trembling and astonishing had gripped them. They said nothing to anyone for they were afraid. They knew He was alive. They knew He was alive. Trembling, astonishment, fear--evidence is overwhelming. They are stunned into silence until they can reach Peter and John and tell the others.

And oh, by the way, as in that condition they leave the tomb, it says in verse 8 of Matthew 28, “They left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy and ran to report it to His disciples.” I love this, “And behold, Jesus met them and greeted them.” “Good morning, ladies,” or something like that. Maybe, “Peace be with you.” And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him. They saw Christ alive. The incomparable reality of the resurrection attested to by an empty tomb, heavenly angels, and earthly eyewitnesses. What Phil’s saying is true--He is alive, He is alive.

What is the benefit of this? Turn to Romans 4, to just bring this to a conclusion. What is the benefit of this? End of verse 25, the last verse in chapter 4 speaks of the significance of His death and resurrection. “He who was delivered over because of our transgressions”; that looks at His execution. “Delivered over” being a technical term for being handed over for execution, because of our transgressions. In other words, He died for our sins. He was then raised because of or for our justification. This links the resurrection with our salvation, with our justification. This is where we go to the benefit of the resurrection.

What’s the benefit of the resurrection? The resurrection provides our justification. What does justification mean? It means that we are just before God, or righteous before God, or holy before god, or perfect before God.

How can that be? Because Jesus bore all our sins in His death and because His sin-bearing satisfied God, God gave to us all His righteousness. Justification is God crediting the righteousness of Christ to us, imputing the righteousness of Christ to our account. Because God raised Him from the dead, God was affirming the completeness of His sacrifice for sinners. Because He bore our sins, we are then given His righteousness. So we have, chapter 5, “Therefore by the resurrection been justified by faith, not by works. We didn’t earn righteousness; we didn’t earn holiness; we didn’t earn perfection--it came because we believed in the resurrection of the Christ.

We have been justified by faith. That is, we have been granted righteousness. We have been covered with the very righteousness of God. As a result of that, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. The war with God is over. The animosity is over. We’re no longer His enemy and He our enemy. He no longer hates the sinner. We have peace with God. That’s not subjective feeling, that’s objective relationship. We have gone from an alienated, hostile relationship to God who would be our condemning judge to a relationship of love and affection in which He is our loving Father. Through the resurrection, we have been justified--justification by faith, through the resurrection we have been given peace with God. That’s not all. We have, verse 2, obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand. Justified by faith, peace with God, we stand in grace.

What does it mean to stand in grace? We live in the realm of grace. We are treated exclusively with grace. There is no end to the grace and mercy and forgiveness that God dispenses to those who are His children who have made peace through Christ and been covered by His righteousness. We stand in grace. That’s why there’s no condemnation ever to those who are in Christ. We stand in grace. We stand in the midst of gracious, on-going, continual forgiveness.

That’s not all. We have been given the hope of the glory of God and we exalt in that; we rejoice in that. What comes out of the resurrection? Justification by faith, peace with God, standing in grace, and the hope of glory. We live our lives in this world, anticipating the world to come, what God has prepared for those that love Him. That’s not all. That’s not all. We have something even beyond that. Down in verse 5, “Hope that does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who is given to us.”

We literally are bathed in the love of God. Through the resurrection, we have been made righteous before God. Through the resurrection, we have peace with God. Through the resurrection we stand in grace. Through the resurrection, we have the hope of glory. And through the resurrection, we receive the fullness of the love of God, and He loves us to the max of His ability to love. These are the benefits of the resurrection. That’s why I say, the resurrection is the cornerstone, the main event in the Christian gospel.

Bow with me in prayer.

It’s so wonderful to consider the realities of the day that Christ rose and even more wonderful to consider the realities of all that has happened since He rose and happens every day as sinners are given salvation who believe in the risen Christ. If you confess Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart God raised Him from the dead, you’ll be saved. And with that salvation comes justification, and peace, and grace, and hope, and love. And it’s all in this that we live. This is where we have our being. How wondrous is this gift. Open every heart to embrace the risen Christ as the only hope of being righteous before God, the only hope of peace with God, the only way to receive forgiveness permanently and to live in anticipation of heaven, the only way to experience divine love. All this in Christ--what a gift. May we embrace Him fully, confess Him as Lord, and know the fullness of this gift of salvation. Bring that gift to folks even today, we pray, in Christ’s name. Amen.




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