This coming Sunday the Christian community celebrates the resurrection of Christ. All around the world people will don their Sunday best to remember what Christ did for humanity at Calvary. Throughout the ages the church as a whole has had a tendency to focus on the cross and stopping there. However, as necessary as the cross was, if we neglect the resurrection we have missed the power behind redemption.
The Bible in different gospel accounts teaches us that Jesus was crucified and that afterwards Joseph of Arimathea asked to take his body to be buried in his own tomb. A stone, not just any stone, but a very large stone was placed in front of it.
Roman soldiers were placed to guard and seal the tomb. Yet on the third day, A Sunday to be specific, a group of women witnessed the empty tomb. The account explains how Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother Jesus, Mary the mother of James, Salome and Joanna were all at the tomb. They came at dawn with the intention to anoint Christ’s body like tradition instructed.
The Bible tells us that an earthquake occurred as an angel rolled back the stone. The soldiers that were guarding the tomb were terrified with what they witnessed. When the angel dressed in bright white announced to the women that Jesus was no longer in the tomb, but that he had risen just like he said he would, it changed everything.
Do you know that the stone was rolled away for our benefit? So that we could see that the tomb was now empty. Jesus did not need an angel to roll the stone away in order for him to walk out of the tomb. In his now glorified body he was able to walk through walls and still be palpable.
The angel seeing the women encouraged them to go into the now empty tomb and to inspect it for themselves. It could have been any number of people that could have been given this assignment. I love that God gave that honor to a group of women. Generally speaking as women we can be very thorough when it comes to getting to the bottom of the unexplained.
I can’t help but think of the countless times I have been asked by my family to go look for something they can’t find. “But it’s not here!” “Can you look for me?” All too often it’s right under their noses. I like to think this was part of the reason this task was assigned to a group of women.
Perhaps, it would have gone down like this if the men had been asked. They may have just peaked in, and said “yeah, he’s not here.” However, as women that would not have been enough of an explanation. “What do you mean Christ is not in the tomb?” “Here let me see, you probably just didn’t look well enough.”
I could just hear the women discussing this among themselves as they searched the tomb. “Mary but he was just here?” “I know, but now he isn’t Joanna!” “Did you look under the bed?” You get the picture.
When the women were convinced that Christ was no longer in the tomb as instructed by the angel they went and shared the news with the disciples. Can you imagine having that assignment? To be among the first to tell of Christ’s resurrection? As they obediently went to do as asked, Jesus himself appears to them.
Don’t you just love it when Jesus shows up in the issues of our life because of an act of obedience on our part? What if they had decided to just go home? They would have missed an opportunity of a lifetime.
Once they see him they immediately fell to their knees and worshiped him. Jesus comforts them by saying, “Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee. There they will see me.” I love that Christ does this for the women, otherwise they could have accused their account as something a bunch of grieving women wanted to believe. Instead, Jesus gives credence to their story by letting the disciples experience for themselves his resurrection.
What about the guards? They reported what happened to the chief priests, there the soldiers were bribed with a large sum of money, were told to lie and say that the disciples had stolen the body overnight.
But the story does not end there. Jesus continued to make it known that he had indeed resurrected. He interrupted a prayer meeting where the disciples were gathered. Met two of his disciples that were on the road to Emmaus and showed up unannounced at the disciples fishing hole.
Why so much emphasis on the resurrection though?
It is the foundation of our Christian doctrine. John 11:25-26 explain it best. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.” This bold statement would have no substance had the resurrection not occurred. If Christ would have only died, today our redemption would not have been complete.
We know historically of at least 12 separate accounts of Christ appearing after his death. These were tangible experiences. He not only addressed those he appeared to but ate with them. He even allowed his scars to be touched in case there was any doubt that it was really him.
One of the greatest things Christ did after his resurrection and before he ascended was to give the Great Commission, instructing all who would follow him to go and make disciples in all the world.
It was at the cross that Jesus made atonement for the sins of the world but it was his resurrection that enables us to live victorious lives in him. You see what most fail to understand is that when He went to the cross he took the punishment we rightfully deserved.
When he died and rose we too passed from death to life. We were spiritually resurrected the day we made him the Lord of our lives. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17
We make much of the resurrection of Christ because today we are alive in him. He not only forgave us of our sins but he equips us be more than overcomers. The Holy Spirit operating now in the inside of us makes this possible. So we have a lot to celebrate! Does this mean we have fully arrived? Of course not, but we understand that the very power that raised Christ from the dead now lives in the Christian believer, making it possible to walk in victory. Romans 8:11
If you live in the South Florida area and are looking for a church to call home Word of Faith Global Ministries invites you to our Resurrection Service. Come celebrate with us.