Soon it will be Easter, the day we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. In fact, we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus every Sunday.
This is why we worship on the First Day of the Week. I am so glad for the resurrection of Jesus, for it transformed a disaster into a glorious experience.
Nothing, absolutely nothing, has dispelled more gloom and given more hope and joy to the world than the resurrection of Jesus.
Jesus surprised the Roman soldiers who were appointed to guard His tomb. I would love to have been there, sitting on a hill a hundred feet away, to watch the soldiers when the angel announced the resurrection of Jesus. Matthew 28:3-4 records it this way: “The angel’s countenance was like lightning and his raiment white as snow, and for fear of him, the keepers did shake and became as dead men.”
What a sight to behold, the soldiers were shaking in their boots. They were courageous when they crucified the Lord, but now their courage is gone.
There are those today who do not believe in the bodily resurrection. There is no other kind; you cannot bury a Spirit.
Renan, a French philosopher, who lived in the 19th century said, “The body of Jesus mingles with Palestinian dust.” I would like to ask Mr. Renan how he knows? The angels said, “He is risen.” The women said, “He is risen.” The disciples said, “He is risen.” The Bible says, “He is risen.” Mr. Renan’s statement has no foundation whatsoever.
I’ll accept the statement of those who saw Jesus alive after His crucifixion. This Easter Sunday millions around the world will declare, “He is risen, indeed!”
Nothing in history is more authenticated than the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Every scheme satan has used has been discredited. Soldiers were paid to say the disciples stole the body of Jesus while they were asleep. Matthew said this false report was still going the rounds when he wrote his gospel about AD 55, some 25 years later (Matthew 28:11-15). If they were asleep, how did they know what happened?
Reading from some of the old Roman historians, you will find in their works, epitaphs expressing unbelief in life beyond the grave. On a grave of a child five years old, this epitaph was written, “To the unrighteous gods who robbed me of my life.” A girl of twelve, this was her epitaph, “I lift my hand against the god who has deprived me of my innocent existence.”
Yet in the midst of this pagan infidelity, the apostle Paul wrote, “Christ is risen” (1 Corinthians 15:20). Christ could say to this child of five, whose epitaph denied the existence beyond the grave, “I AM the resurrection and the Life” John 11:25 .
That same Lord is saying to every broken heart and grief stricken soul, “The tomb is empty; He is not here, He is risen” Matthew 28:6.
Romans 1:4 states that Jesus was declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. The resurrection of Jesus guarantees our salvation. Romans 4:25 states it clearly, “Who (Jesus) was delivered for our offenses and was raised for our justification.”
I like what the apostle Peter said in 1 Peter 1:3: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy, has begotten us again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”
The resurrection of Christ is the guarantee of our resurrection and immortality. The New Testament is filled with hope of eternal life based on the resurrection of Jesus. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:22: “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”
There is, however an exclusion.
When Jesus comes again, He will come for His own. For those who have believed in Him, who have loved Him and have sought to serve Him; He will come for His children, the children of God.
Jesus said, “I AM the resurrection and the Life” John 11:25. He did not say I will be or hope to be, but He said “I AM”. Christ being alive did not depend on the bodily resurrection; He was as much alive when His body was in the grave as He was later.
But there could not have been proof of the resurrection apart from His bodily resurrection.
The disciples would never have believed in His resurrection apart from His bodily resurrection.
He came forth because He was life and He is life (ref. John 5:25-29). We too must possess eternal life on this side of the grave if we expect to have eternal life after death. “He that has the Son has life, and he that has not the Son of God has not life” 1 John 5:12
“And this is eternal life that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” John 17:3.
“Because I live, you shall live also” John 14:19. This is the promise of Jesus.
Rush Kee serves as pastor of the First Baptist Church of Grantsville. He, along with his wife, Eve, have served as Home Missionaries with The North American Mission Board since 1994. They reside in Grantsville.