This is a perfect day to remember that Jesus Christ did not stay in His tomb.
Jesus is the Resurrected Lord!
God is talking to us…through what we thought was irreversible.
Charlotte’s loss of Bubble (the fish) reminded of the loss of death and the thought of what resurrection would be like.
Rollo May, the famous therapist asked “What would it mean for our world if He had truly risen?” in My Quest for Beauty.
Paul wrote, “the last enemy to be destroyed is death.” 1 Cor 15:26
Read Mark 16. The Resurrection, Jesus appears to His friends & followers, and directs them to live on mission.
God allows death for now, but He does not let death win.
After the resurrection they continued to see miracles.
“Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and He was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said.” 1 Cor 15:3-7
English journalist Frank Morison set out to discount the resurrection as a myth, but the evidence convinced him otherwise. You can read his work Who Moved the Stone?
“No one fact in the history of mankind…is proved by better and fuller evidence of every sort,” than the fact that “Christ died and rose from the dead.” Thomas Arnold (professor of modern history at Oxford)
No credible historical evidence from that period exists to validate any alternative explanation for Jesus’ resurrection other than his literal bodily resurrection.
“According to all four Gospels, women were the first witnesses of the resurrection, a fact that no conspirator in the first century would have invented. Jewish courts did not even accept the testimony of female witnesses.”
“The style fit God’s pattern and character. God has always chosen the slow and difficult way, respecting human freedom regardless of cost. ‘God did not abolish the fact of evil: He transformed it,’ wrote Dorothy Sayers. ‘He did not stop the crucifixion: He rose from the dead.’ The hero bore all consequences, yet somehow triumphed.” Phillip Yancey
Jesus appears about a dozen times (that we know of) over a six week period before His ascension. They were not the kind of appearances that would dramatically improve Christianity…at least not the way that we would. He didn’t appear again to Caiaphas, Pilate, or in big public places. Except for the final appearance to the 500, His appearances were to a few at a time in remote areas or indoors.
Consider the very personal way that Jesus revealed Himself after His resurrection. It wasn’t a show!
“If I take Easter as the starting point, the one incontrovertible fact about how God treats those whom He loves, then human history becomes the contradiction and Easter a preview of ultimate reality. Hope then flows like a lava beneath the crust of daily life.”
“This, perhaps, describes the change in the disciples’ perspective as they sat in locked rooms discussing the incomprehensible events of Easter Sunday. In one sense nothing had changed: Rome still occupied Palestine, religious authorities still had a bounty on their heads, death and evil still reigned outside. Gradually, however, the shock of recognition gave way to a long slow undertow of joy. If God could do that…”
“Because of Easter, I can hope that the tears we shed, the blows we receive, the emotional pain, the heartache over lost friends and loved ones, all these will become memories, like Jesus’ scars. Scars never completely go away, but neither do they hurt any longer. We will have re-created bodies, a re-created heaven and earth. We will have a new start, an Easter start.” – Phillip Yancey
Mark 16:15-18 Jesus is asking for a response, sending them to tell others and do miracles.
He appeared to His followers to prove who He is, remind them of what He taught, give purpose to their daily lives & relationships, send them on mission, and to set up a perpetual motion of His truth being communicated via relationships for thousands of years.
What we read in “Acts” is the direct result of what the people, who witnessed His resurrection, did in response.
Saved, baptized in water and the Holy Spirit, bringing healing to others, drawing them to relationship with Jesus. The church is the result of that mission. It is the vehicle for that mission to continue.
Paul wrote, “And if there is no resurrection, ‘let’s feast and drink, for tomorrow we die!’ Don’t be fooled by those who say such things, for ‘bad company corrupts good character.’ Think carefully about what is right, and stop sinning. For to your shame I say that some of you don’t know God at all.” 1 Corinthians 15:32-34…and more in 1 Corinthians 15:54-58
“Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled:
‘Death is swallowed up in victory.
O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?’
For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.
So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.”
Jesus is the Resurrected Lord. Death could not hold Him.
Who He is, how He lived, how He chose to die, and the fact that He did not stay in the tomb should affect our Monday. We should choose to live the way that the friends of Jesus, who witnessed his death/burial/resurrection, chose to live. Their response to His request (at the end of Mark 16) has resulted in millions of believers sharing their faith through intentional relationships and ultimately the church. Let’s do this!
Suggested reading & sources:
- The Jesus I Never Knew – Phillip Yancey
- Vintage Jesus – Driscoll & Breshears
- The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict – Josh McDowell
- Free eBook: Raised?
- “A Sermon on Christ’s Resurrection” by Martin Luther
- “Christ’s Resurrection and Our Newness of Life” and “Spiritual Resurrection” by Charles Spurgeon
- “The Immeasurable Greatness of His Power Toward Us” and “I Have Seen the Lord” by John Piper
- “I Will Raise It Up” and “The Hope of Glory” by Tim Keller
- “Easter” by Matt Chandler
This year, we’re fortunate to be able to point people to a great visualization of the Easter story. On Sunday, The Bible series will air the final episode featuring the crucifixion and the resurrection. And if you haven’t had a chance to catch it yet, the History Channel will be re-playing the full series from the beginning earlier in the day.
…a little more…
Biblical evidence for Jesus’ resurrection (Pastor Driscoll):
- Jesus’ resurrection was prophesied in advance.
- Jesus predicted His resurrection.
- Jesus died on the cross.
- Jesus was buried in a tomb that was easy to find.
- Jesus appeared physically alive three days after His death.
- Jesus’ resurrection was recorded as Scripture shortly after it occurred.
- Jesus’ resurrection was celebrated in the earliest church creeds.
- Jesus’ resurrection convinced His family to worship Him as God.
- Jesus’ resurrection was confirmed by His most bitter enemies, such as Paul.