• Who Rose from that Tomb?

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Who has a name above all others, that every knee shall bow before? Jesus Christ our Lord, declared to be the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead.

 

John18:1-11 When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was an olive grove, and he and his disciples went into it. 2 Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples. 3 So Judas came to the grove, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons. 4 Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?” 5 “Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) 6 When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. 7 Again he asked them, “Who is it you want?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” 8 “I told you that I am he,” Jesus answered. “If you are looking for me, then let these men go.” 9 This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: “I have not lost one of those you gave me.” 10 Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) 11 Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” NIV         

 

ONE WHO HAD NO FEAR:  John 18:12-24

 

Jesus walked confidently into the darkness. He walked with His own creature that hated Him, yet He walked in quietness and confidence. Who is absolutely fearless? Jesus Christ our Lord, declared to be the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead.                                                

John 18:12-24 Then the detachment of soldiers with its commander and the Jewish officials arrested Jesus. They bound him 13 and brought him first to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. 14 Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it would be good if one man died for the people. 15 Simon Peter and another disciple were following Jesus. Because this disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the high priest’s courtyard, 16 but Peter had to wait outside at the door. The other disciple, who was known to the high priest, came back, spoke to the girl on duty there and brought Peter in. 17 “You are not one of his disciples, are you?” the girl at the door asked Peter. He replied, “I am not.” 18 It was cold, and the servants and officials stood around a fire they had made to keep warm. Peter also was standing with them, warming himself. 19 Meanwhile, the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. 20 “I have spoken openly to the world,” Jesus replied. “I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret. 21 Why question me? Ask those who heard me. Surely they know what I said.” 22 When Jesus said this, one of the officials nearby struck him in the face. “Is this the way you answer the high priest?” he demanded. 23 “If I said something wrong,” Jesus replied, “testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?” 24 Then Annas sent him, still bound, to Caiaphas the high priest.  NIV

 

ONE POSSESSING PERFECT KNOWLEDGE: John 18:25-27 

 

Who alone knows all (omniscient)? check out Mark 14:27-30. It happened as He said. Jesus Christ our Lord, declared to be the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead.                                            

John 18:25-27 As Simon Peter stood warming himself, he was asked, “You are not one of his disciples, are you?”  He denied it, saying, “I am not.”  26 One of the high priest’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, challenged him, “Didn’t I see you with him in the olive grove?” 27 Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow. NIV

 

Mark 14:27-30 “You will all fall away,” Jesus told them, “for it is written: ”‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ 28 But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.” 29 Peter declared, “Even if all fall away, I will not.”  30 “I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “today—yes, tonight—before the rooster crows twice you yourself will disown me three times.” NIV

 

ONE POSSESSING DIVINITY:  John 18:28-37 (see 19:7-9 also)

 

Who alone is not from this world? Jesus Christ our Lord, declared to be the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead.                                           

John 18:28-37 Then the Jews led Jesus from Caiaphas to the palace of the Roman governor. By now it was early morning, and to avoid ceremonial uncleanness the Jews did not enter the palace; they wanted to be able to eat the Passover. 29 So Pilate came out to them and asked, “What charges are you bringing against this man?” 30 “If he were not a criminal,” they replied, “we would not have handed him over to you.” 31 Pilate said, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.” “But we have no right to execute anyone,” the Jews objected. 32 This happened so that the words Jesus had spoken indicating the kind of death he was going to die would be fulfilled. 33 Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” 34 “Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?” 35 “Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “It was your people and your chief priests who handed you over to me. What is it you have done?” 36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.” 37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” NIV

 

John 19:7-9 The Jews insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.” 8 When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, 9 and he went back inside the palace. “Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. NIV

 

ONE WHO WAS SINLESS:  John 18:38-19:16 

 

Who is the only one who can stand even the scrutiny of those who hate Him and no fault can be found! Jesus Christ our Lord, declared to be the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead.                                          

John 18:38-19:16 “What is truth?” Pilate asked. With this he went out again to the Jews and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him. 39 But it is your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover. Do you want me to release ‘the king of the Jews’?” 40 They shouted back, “No, not him! Give us Barabbas!” Now Barabbas had taken part in a rebellion. 1 Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. 2 The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe 3 and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they struck him in the face. 4 Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him.” 5 When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!” 6 As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!” But Pilate answered, “You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him.” 7 The Jews insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.” 8 When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, 9 and he went back inside the palace. “Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10 “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?” 11 Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.” 12 From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jews kept shouting, “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.” 13 When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge’s seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaic is Gabbatha). 14 It was the day of Preparation of Passover Week, about the sixth hour. “Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews. 15 But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!” “Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked. “We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered. 16 Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. NIV

 

ONE WHO WAS GRACIOUS:  John 19:17-42

 

Who can endure bearing shame and scoffing rude and stand perfectly at peace?

Who could have called ten thousand angels?

As they mocked the name of Jesus the mighty armies of God stood poised at the battlements of heaven with swords drawn ready to start Armageddon that very instant. But the call never came, “He could have called ten thousand angels, to destroy the world and set him free, but He died alone for you and me” Jesus Christ our Lord, declared to be the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead.                       

 

John 19:17-42 Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). 18 Here they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle. 19 Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. 20 Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. 21 The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.” 22 Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.” 23 When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom. 24 “Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.” This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled which said, “They divided my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.” So this is what the soldiers did. 25 Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” 27 and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home. 28 Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. 30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. 31 Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jews did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. 32 The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. 33 But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. 35 The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. 36 These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,” 37 and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.” 38 Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jews. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. 39 He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. 40 Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. 41 At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. 42 Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there. NIV

 

ONE WHO WAS OMNIPOTENT: 

 

Who can be executed by professionals,

be buried for 3 days and then walk out of the Grave just when they said they would?

Jesus Christ our Lord, declared to be the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead.                

 

John 20:1-10 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. 2 So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” 3 So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7 as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. 8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. 9 (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) 10 Then the disciples went back to their homes, NIV

 

Conclusion: Why? Jesus Christ our Lord, declared to be the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead.

 

Jesus the ONE WHO HAD A NAME: John 18:1-11   Who has a name above all others, that every knee shall bow before? Jesus Christ our Lord, declared to be the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead.

 

Jesus the ONE WHO HAD NO FEAR:  John 18:12-24 Jesus walked confidently into the darkness. He walked with His own creature that hated Him, yet He walked in quietness and confidence. Who is absolutely fearless? Jesus Christ our Lord, declared to be the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead.                                                 

 

Jesus the ONE POSSESSING PERFECT KNOWLEDGE: John 18:25-27  Who alone knows all (omniscient)? check out Mark 14:27-30. It happened as He said. Jesus Christ our Lord, declared to be the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead.                                     

 

Jesus the ONE POSSESSING DIVINITY:  John 18:28-37 (see 19:7-9 also) Who alone is not from this world? Jesus Christ our Lord, declared to be the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead.                                         

Jesus the ONE WHO WAS SINLESS:  John 18:38-19:16  Who is the only one who can stand even the scrutiny of those who hate Him and no fault can be found! Jesus Christ our Lord, declared to be the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead.                                     

 

Jesus the ONE WHO WAS GRACIOUS:  John 19:17-42 Who can endure bearing shame and scoffing rude and stand perfectly at peace? Who could have called ten thousand angels? As they mocked the name of Jesus the mighty armies of God stood poised at the battlements of heaven with swords drawn ready to start Armageddon that very instant. But the call never came, “He could have called ten thousand angels, to destroy the world and set him free, but He died alone for you and me” Jesus Christ our Lord, declared to be the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead.                    

 

ONE WHO WAS OMNIPOTENT:  Who can be executed by professionals,

be buried for 3 days and then walk out of the Grave just when they said they would? Jesus Christ our Lord, declared to be the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead.         

 

 

  1. John 20:11-18 -- He came to save the DEFILED. Remember that He appeared first to Mary, and to everyone who is defiled He gives purity when they come to Him.
  2. John 20:19-23 -- He came to rescue the DEPRESSED. Remember how He went to find His hopeless disciples who were in hiding?  And to all of us who are so discouraged we are ready to run away He comes and says fear not I am here and everything will be all right!
  3. John 20:24-31 -- He came to save the DOUBTERS.  Remember doubting Thomas? Who sought whom? Jesus patiently gives him faith when he doubted, just like He offers to each of us who struggle. He says I am here, it is I – be not afraid!
  4. John 21:1-14 -- He came to restore the DESERTERS.  Remember James and John who wanted His right and left spots? He gives them Humility when they ask Him and restores their desertion from their post.
  5. John 21:15-25 -- He came to save the DENIERS.  Remember fearful Peter who got caught in water over his head and cusses and swears that he didn’t know Jesus, and then Jesus turned and looked at him? Devastated Peter slips out into the dark to weep the bitter tears of failure, but Jesus comes looking for Him and gives him forgiveness. That is just what He does for each of us when we fail Him!

 

He came to save. To all like us today He gives forgiveness and true life when we ask Him! The Savior is waiting to enter your heart, why don’t you let Him come in? #329

 

  1. Evidences:
    1. Four eyewitness accounts in the Gospels. They all agree!
    2. The Tomb is empty. Then and to this day no body ever found!
    3. The abandoned Grave clothes.
    4. The witnesses who saw Him alive.
    5. Transformee lives of disciples.
    6. The New day of Worship for Christians

 

RESURRECTION EVIDENCE

 

What were those 7 teltale proofs of Christ’s resurrection?  They are all in verses 1-15.

 

The STONE has been REMOVED, v. 1

The TOMB is now EMPTIED, v. 2 that was sealed and    guarded                                  

The BELOVED JESUS is now ABSENT, V. 13

The SHAPE OF JESUS IN GRAVE CLOTHES is now deflated, lying UNDISTURBED, V. 5

The FACE NAPKIN which was off ROLLED UP and BY  ITSELF, v.7

The TESTIMONY from two ANGELS, V. 12

The PERSONAL, FACE-TO-FACE MEETING with none other than JESUS, V. 15-18

 

Let’s just pause over each of them briefly --

 

  1.  A STONE REMOVED, V. 1 Mark relates in chapter 16 - concerned - who roll away?  It was very large...Matthew 28 -- angel rolled and sat!- God confirmed it was done.- Christ was alive and gone!
  2. AN EMPTY TOMB,  John 20:2 Notice they were SHOCKED. Note that they didn’t expect it. Also -- in all history no one claimed He was there. - stolen; moved; resuscitated; but not in the tomb. In fact there is an amazing absence of ANY reference to the tomb:

 

  1. AN ABSENT CHRIST, v. 2 His body was gone and they didn’t have it and the Jews didn’t either!

 

  1. UNDISTURBED GRAVECLOTHES, v. 5 Lying = in orderly arrangement, undisturbed. He had left them.  No robber, no hoax. Note v. 5 BLEPI = GLANCED   v. 6 TEORAO = LOOKED  v. 9 EDON = PERCEIVED AND BELIEVED

 

  1. A FACE NAPKIN ALONE, v. 7 He took it off and folded it.

 

  1. TESTIMONY OF ANGELS, v. 12 They confirmed. But those aren’t the ultimate signs: AN EMPTY TOMB, ABSENT CHRIST, UNDISTURBED GRAVE CLOTHES, A FOLDED HEAD NAPKIN, A STONE REMOVED, AN ANGELS’ WITNESS That’s nothing compared to the LAST PROOF --We see Christ personally and face-to-face meeting His own!  John only records 3 of the 10 meetings Christ had, each so purposeful!

 

Some have said Christ only swooned and the cool mist revived Him.  At best the idea is absurd --

 

Note Strauss:

 

It is impossible that a being who had stolen half-dead out of the sepulcher, who crept about weak and ill, wanting medical treatment, who required bandaging, strengthening, and indulgence, and who still at last yielded to his sufferings, could have given to the disciples the impression that he was a conqueror over death and the grave, the Prince of Life:  an impression which lay at the bottom of their future ministry.  Such a resuscitation could only have weakened the impression which he had made upon them in life and in death, at the most could only have given it a loud voice, but could by no possibility have changed their sorrow into enthusiasm, have elevated their reverence into worship.”[1] 

 

Others say they imagined the resurrection:

 

“But difficulties not less insuperable present themselves when we try to think of them uniformly and without exception coming under the influence of a complete delusion.

  • Somehow the rugged fisherman Peter and his brother Andrew,
  • the characteristically doubting Thomas,
  • the seasoned and not too sensitive tax gatherer,  Matthew,
  • the rather dull Philip, intensely loyal but a little slow of apprehension,

do not fit easily into the conditions required for an absolutely unshakable collective hallucination.  The terrors and the persecutions these men ultimately had to face and did face unflinchingly, do not admit of a halfhearted adhesion secretly honeycombed with doubt... “ (p. 114)

 

Now the peculiar thing about this phenomenon is that, not only did it spread to every single member of the party of Jesus of whom we have any trace, but they brought it to Jerusalem and carried it with inconceivable audacity into the most keenly intellectual center of Judea, against the ablest dialecticians of the day, and in the face of every impediment a brilliant and highly organized camarilla could devise.  And they won.  Within twenty years the claim of these Galilean  peasants had disrupted the Jewish church and impressed itself upon every town on the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean from Caesarea to Troas.  In less than fifty years it had begun to threaten the peace of the Roman Empire.”

 

Do why not recognize story

 

 

The great defining passage on the Gospel is 1 Corinthians 15:3-4. Here, the Gospel is defined as the good news that –

 

  • “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
  • And that He was buried,
  • and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures.”

 

There are many details we will see in the days ahead.

 

  • Christ's Resurrection was DECLARED as the Gospel we believe.
  • Christ's Resurrection was PROMISED in the Old Testament and New Testament.
  • Christ's Resurrection was WITNESSED by more than 500 individuals.
  • Christ's Resurrection was RECORDED by the Four Gospel writers with perfect precision.
  • Christ's Resurrection was APPLIED by Jesus for 40 days until His Ascension.

 

 

There are many details we will see in the days ahead.

  • Christ's Resurrection was DECLARED as the Gospel we believe.

 

  • Christ's Resurrection was PROMISED in the Old Testament and New Testament.

 

Although the prophecies of His resurrection in the Old Testament were not evident to a superficial reader, they should have been correctly understood by those in Israel who diligently studied the Word. Such prophecies as found in Genesis 3:15; Psalm 2:7; Psalm 16:9-11; Psalm 22:14-25; Psalm 30:2-9; Psalm 40:1-3; Psalm 110:1; Psalm 118:21-24; Isaiah 53:9-12; Hosea 5:15-6:3; Zechariah 12:10; and others, if carefully studied, would have indicated that the coming Messiah would be put to death and then rise again.

 

Even if they had not been able to anticipate the resurrection from the Old Testament, however, they had the clear statements to this effect from the lips of Christ Himself. Note John 2:19; Matthew 12:38-42; 16:21; 17:22-23; 20:17-19; 26:30-32; John 10:17-18; 16:16; and many other passages in the four Gospels. One thing is certain: the disciples could not have fabricated the story of the resurrection from their own imaginations. On the contrary, they somehow failed to anticipate it even after such an abundance of prophetic preparation for it, both from the Scriptures and from Christ. It took the strongest of evidences to convince them it had actually taken place. But once they became convinced, their lives were wholly transformed, and they went forth to live and witness and even to die for their resurrected Lord.

 

The Gospel includes “and that He arose again the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Cor. 15:4). What Scriptures did Paul and John have in mind?

  • Paul saw the Resurrection in Psalm 2:7 (Acts 13:33).
  • Peter saw it in Psalm 16:8–11 (Acts 2:23–36 and note 13:35).
  •  Peter also referred to Psalm 110:1 (Acts 2:34–35).
  • The statement “He shall prolong His days” in Isaiah 53:10 is also interpreted as a prediction of Christ’s resurrection.
  • Jesus Himself used the Prophet Jonah to illustrate His own death, burial, and resurrection (Matt. 12:38–40); and this would include the “three days” part of the message.
  • Paul saw in the Feast of Firstfruits a picture of the Resurrection (Lev. 23:9–14; 1 Cor. 15:20–23), and again, this would include “the third day.”
  • Some students see the Resurrection and “the third day” in Hosea 6:2.

 

 

  • Christ's Resurrection was WITNESSED by more than 500 individuals.
  • Christ's Resurrection was RECORDED by the Four Gospel writers with perfect precision.
  • Christ's Resurrection was APPLIED by Jesus for 40 days until His Ascension.

 

 

The Empty Tomb

 

The first evidence the disciples had for the resurrection was that of the empty tomb, and this evidence is still unanswerable. As Peter and John entered the tomb they saw an amazing thing. The heavy wrappings of linen clothes which Joseph and Nicodemus had wound around the body of Jesus (John 19:39-40) were still there, just as they had been, but the body had vanished out of them and the grave clothes had, as it were, collapsed inward on themselves. No wonder the record says that when John entered the tomb, “he saw and believed” (John 20:8). His doubts and fears immediately gave way to an amazed faith; the collapsed grave clothes yielded no possible interpretation except that the body of the crucified Christ had returned to life, in such fantastic form that it could simply pass through the linen wrappings and enter henceforth into the power of an endless life!

Peter and John then rushed back to Johns home, probably to tell Mary, the mother of Jesus, the tremendous news (note John 19:27; 20:10) and, shortly after, the women who had first come to the tomb entered it and also saw the tomb was empty (Luke 24:3).

 

The fact that the tomb was empty of course shows clearly that the resurrection of Christ was a bodily resurrection, not a spiritual resurrection. The latter idea is a self-contradiction, in fact, because the spirit does not die and therefore cannot be “resurrected.” Indeed, resurrection takes place when the spirit returns to the body from which it has departed.

 

So powerful is the testimony of the empty tomb that the enemies of Christ have resorted to many strange and wonderful devices to try to explain it away. The first such attempt was the lie that the disciples had stolen the body (Matthew 28:11-15). Such a thing was utterly out of the question, of course. The disciples were hiding in fear of their lives and nothing could possibly have been further from their thoughts than this. Furthermore, the tomb had been sealed, a great stone rolled in front of it, and a watch of Roman soldiers set to guard it (Matthew 27:62-66).

 

Others, equally desperate for an answer, have suggested that Jesus did not die, but only fainted from weakness. He was buried in the mistaken belief that He was dead, and when He came back to consciousness in the tomb, He arose and left it. How, in His weakened condition, He managed to disengage Himself from the great weight of wrappings and ointments, then break the Roman seal, roll away the giant stone at the entrance, overpower or elude the Roman soldiers, and then search out the disciples, is apparently of little concern to the proponents of this odd theory. Nor do they explain how such a pitiful sight as Jesus must have been, beaten almost beyond recognition and weak past endurance by loss of blood and horrible suffering on the cross, could have excited such a complete transformation in the cowering disciples. He must soon, or at least eventually, die anyhow, and thereafter any preaching of a resurrection could be nothing but fraud and hypocrisy.

Besides all this, there is no doubt that He died on the cross. Pilate was given assurance of this by the centurion (Mark 15:43-45). The savage spear thrust into His side by the soldier (John 19:34) made certain of His death, “and forthwith came there out blood and water,” evidencing complete collapse of the heart cavity.

 

Some have thought that Mary Magdalene, then Peter and John, then the other women, all went to the wrong tomb. Such a stupid mistake was not very likely, however, especially since there was no other tomb there! This was a garden, owned by Joseph of Arimathea (Matthew 27:60; John 19:41), and no one else had been buried there.

 

Besides, if the body were still in any tomb whatever, it could have easily been produced by the Roman or Jewish authorities.

 

A few weeks later, when multitudes were accepting Christ because of the preaching of the resurrection, these same authorities did everything they could to stop the spread of the new Christian faith, and they utterly failed. If they had simply produced the body of Jesus, on the other hand, the entire movement would have collapsed overnight. But this was the one thing they could not do! That body, raised from the grave, had ascended up to heaven.

 

The Appearances of Christ

 

Not only was the tomb empty, but the disciples actually saw their resurrected Lord, on at least ten separate occasions after He left the tomb. These appearances were probably as follows:

  1. To Mary Magdalene (John 20:11-18; Mark 16:9)
  2. To the other women (Matthew 28:8-10)
  3. To Peter (Luke 24:34; 1 Corinthians 15:5)
  4. To the two on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35; Mark 16:12)
  5. To ten of the disciples (Luke 24:36-43; John 20:19-24)
  6. To all eleven disciples, eight days later (John 20:24-29)
  7. To seven disciples by the Sea of Tiberias (John 21:1-23)
  8. To five hundred followers (1 Corinthians 15:6)
  9. To James (1 Corinthians 15:7)
  10. To the eleven, at the ascension (Acts 1:3-12)

 

There were probably many other times He appeared to one or more of His disciples. Luke says: “He shewed Himself alive after His passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days” (Acts 1:3). Finally, of course, He was seen by Paul (Acts 9:3-8; 1 Corinthians 15:8) and once again by John (Revelation 1:12-18).

 

Now, of course, skeptics have tried to avoid the testimony of these numerous post-resurrection appearances of Christ by pointing out various contradictions in the six accounts which list them (Matthew 28:8-20; Mark 16:9-20; Luke 24:13-51; John 20:11-21:14; Acts 1:1-11; 1 Corinthians 15:5-8), or else by charging the writers with fabricating the stories themselves. Of course, the mere fact that there does appear on the surface to be numerous superficial discrepancies and omissions in the account is clear proof that the writers were not engaged in some kind of collusion. If they were making up the tales, each one evidently was doing so independently of all others. This in itself would be quite a remarkable state of affairs, especially since these discrepancies begin to vanish when they are compared under close examination. It is a well-known rule of evidence that the testimonies of several different witnesses, each reporting from his own particular vantage point, provide the strongest possible evidence on matters of fact when the testimonies contain superficial contradictions which resolve themselves upon close and careful examination. This is exactly the situation with the various witnesses to the resurrection.

 

The only other possible device for explaining away the post-resurrection appearances is to assume that they were merely hallucinations, or visions, perhaps induced by drugs or hypnosis or hysteria. Such an absurd hypothesis is surely the last resort of cornered foes!

 

Such hallucinations, if this is what they were, are quite unique and should warrant careful psychologic scrutiny. These were experienced by a considerable number of different individuals, all seeing the same vision, but in different groups, at different times, both indoors and outdoors, on a hilltop, along a roadway, by a lakeshore and other places. Furthermore, they were not looking for Jesus at all. Several times they didnt recognize Him at first, and at least once actually believed it was a ghost until He convinced them otherwise. He invited them to touch Him and they recognized the wounds in His hands (John 20:27; Luke 24:39). They watched Him eat with them (Luke 24:41-43). On one occasion, over five hundred different people saw Him at one time (1 Corinthians 15:6), most of whom were still living at the time when the evidence was being used.

 

The vision theory is thus quite impossible and therefore the numerous appearances of Christ must be regarded as absolutely historical and genuine. This fact, combined with the evidence of the empty tomb, renders the resurrection as certain as any fact of history could possibly be[2]

Historical faith says, “Christ lives!”  Saving faith says, “Christ lives in me!”  Which one describes you? Do you have saving faith?

 

When we look at the apostles after the cross we see an immense emphasis in their messages upon Christ's Resurrection. Peter’s message at Pentecost emphasized the Resurrection. And all the way through Acts this emphasis is repeated. What is the significance of the Resurrection?

 

What is truly remarkable is they did not believe in His resurrection. They had missed this truth He had taught them repeatedly (Matt. 16:21; 17:23; 20:19; 26:32).

 

  1. Christ's Resurrection Confirms God's Word. Both in the Old Testament and in the teaching of Jesus, His resurrection is clearly taught (see Psalm 16:10; 110:1). If Jesus had not come out of the tomb, then these Scriptures would not be true. Psalm 16:10 For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. NKJV; Psalm 110:1 The Lord said to my Lord,“Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.” NKJV
  2. Christ's Resurrection declares his deity. Jesus stated that He had authority to lay down His life and to take it up again (John 10:17–18). John 10:17-18 “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. 18 No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.” NKJV
  3. Christ's Resurrection warns of judgment to come. “Because He hath appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world in righteousness by that man who He hath ordained; whereof He hath given assurance unto all men, in that He hath raised Him from the dead” (Acts 17:31). 
  4. Christ's Resurrection Supplies our power to live. We cannot live for God by our own strength. It is only as His resurrection power works in and through us that we can do His will and glorify His name. Romans 6:4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. NKJV
  5. Christ's Resurrection Assures our Hope of Resurrection. Because Jesus died and rose again, we shall one day be raised to be like Him (1 Thes. 4:13–18). In fact, the entire structure of the Christian faith rests on the foundation of the Resurrection. If we do away with His resurrection, we have no hope. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. 15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words. NKJV
  6. Christ's Resurrection Anchors our souls in Heaven. Hebrews 6:11-20 And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. 18 that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. 19 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, 20 where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. NKJV
  • But we are not flotsam on the tides. We have a hope—a hope outside ourselves. There are powerful truths that cause us to have great hope in Christ our Salvation. Jesus our High Priest is the anchor of our souls, who forever keeps us from drifting away from God. As believers, our relationship with Christ anchors us to God confidently because it is “within the veil” (v. 19). The most sacred place in the Jewish temple was the holy of holies, which was veiled from the rest of the temple. Inside the holy of holies rested the ark of the covenant, which signified the glory of God. Only once a year, on the Day of Atonement, could the high priest of Israel enter beyond the veil and make atonement for the sins of his people. But under the New Covenant, Christ made atonement once for all time and for all people by His sacrifice on the cross. The believer’s soul is, in God’s mind, already secured within the veil—His eternal sanctuary[1].
  • Again listen to Hebrews 6:19-20 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, 20 where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.

*      It is anchored in Heaven. We have continual access to God’s presence, not just once a year through a fallible man, but always—at every moment—through our high priest, Jesus Christ.

*      It is anchored in Christ, our prodromos who has gone to prepare a place for us. Philip Mauro suggests that the picture here is that of the forerunner used in ancient times to help a vessel enter the harbor safely. He would jump from the ship, wade to the harbor, and fasten the strong rope of the ship to a rock along the shore. Then, by means of a winch, the vessel was brought in. Just so, our forerunner has gone to heaven, where He stands ready to guide us safely into the Holy of Holies. We are fastened to a rock that cannot be moved. Let the storms tear our sails to shreds; let the floors creak; let the gusts of wind attempt to blow us off course; let the tides overwhelm us; we shall arrive safely into the port. Each day we are pulled a notch closer to the harbor by the One who proved He is more powerful than death. We have an anchor that keeps the soul Steadfast and sure while the billows roll, Fastened to the Rock which cannot move, Grounded firm and deep in the Saviour's love.

*      It is anchored in Christ, our Melchizedekian priest who ministers perpetually and eternally.

*      It is anchored for sure, for it is doubly impossible for God to lie[2].

  • Our future existence is not in the hands of doctors, nor in the hands of disease, nor in the hands of the drunk who runs into our car along the highway, or even the terrorist who slams 350 ton airplane fuel bombs into our office towers. Our life is in the hands of the Almighty , who can use any means He wishes, including the above, to have us brought into the heavenly gates. Perhaps today our name will be called. And to be ready we need to KNOW HIM! [3] 
  1. Christ's Resurrection applies His Heavenly Prayers to us. Because He lives by the power of an endless life, He is able to save us “to the uttermost” (Heb. 7:23–28). He lives to intercede for us. Hebrews 7:23-28 Also there were many priests, because they were prevented by death from continuing. 24 But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. 25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. 26 For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; 27 who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. 28 For the law appoints as high priests men who have weakness, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints the Son who has been perfected forever. NKJV
  2. Christ's Resurrection Energizes our Hope. Because we have a living hope, we can experience hopeful living. A dead hope grows weaker and weaker before it eventually dies. But because Jesus Christ is alive, we have a glorious future.  1 Peter 1:3-5 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. NKJV
  3. Christ's Resurrection Celebrates our Identity.  Whenever God’s people gather on the Lord’s Day they bear witness that Jesus is alive and that the church has received spiritual blessings. When the followers of the Lord gathered that first Lord’s Day, they were discourged and defeated. 1 Corinthians 16:2 On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come. NKJV

 

 

John 20:1–18

If the Gospel of John were an ordinary biography, there would be no chapter 20. I am an incurable reader of biographies, and I notice that almost all of them conclude with the death and burial of the subject. I have yet to read one that describes the subject’s resurrection from the dead! The fact that John continued his account and shared the excitement of the Resurrection miracle is proof that Jesus Christ is not like any other man. He is, indeed, the Son of God.

The Resurrection is an essential part of the Gospel message (1 Cor. 15:1–8) and a key doctrine in the Christian faith. It proves that Jesus Christ is the Son of God (Acts 2:32–36; Rom. 1:4) and that His atoning work on the cross has been completed and is effective (Rom. 4:24–25). The empty cross and the empty tomb are God’s “receipts” telling us that the debt has been paid. Jesus Christ is not only the Saviour, but He is also the Sanctifier (Rom. 6:4–10) and the Intercessor (Rom. 8:34). One day He shall return as Judge (Acts 17:30–31).

But the glorious truth of the Resurrection was not understood immediately by even His closest followers. It gradually dawned on these grieving people that their Master was not dead, but alive! And what a difference it made when the full realization of His resurrection took hold of them! For Mary Magdalene it meant moving from tears to joy (John 20:1–18); for the ten disciples it meant going from fear to courage (John 20:19–23); and for Thomas it meant moving from doubt to assurance (John 20:24–31). With Mary, the emphasis is on love; with the ten, the emphasis is on hope; and with Thomas, the emphasis is on faith.

Faith Eclipsed (John 20:1–2)

Mary Magdalene and several other women agreed to go to the tomb early on the first day of the week, so that they might show their love for Christ in completing the burial preparations. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus had been forced by circumstances to prepare His body hastily, and the women wanted to finish the task. Their great concern was how to get into the tomb. Perhaps the Roman soldiers would take pity on them and give them a hand.

What they did not know was that an earthquake had occurred and the stone had been rolled back by an angel! It seems that Mary Magdalene went ahead of the other women and got to the tomb first. When she saw the stone rolled away from the door of the tomb, she concluded that somebody had broken into the tomb and stolen the body of her Lord. We may criticize Mary for jumping to conclusions; but when you consider the circumstances, it is difficult to see how she would have reached any other conclusion. It was still dark, she was alone, and, like the other followers of Jesus, she did not believe that He would return from the dead.

She ran to give the news to Peter and John, who must have been living together at a place known to the other believers. Perhaps it was the Upper Room where they had met with Jesus. Mary’s use of the pronoun “we” is interesting, for it included the other women who at that moment were discovering that Jesus was alive! (see Mark 16:1–8 and Luke 24:1–8) The women left the tomb and carried the angels’ message to the other disciples.

It is significant that the first witnesses of the resurrection of Christ were believing women. Among the Jews in that day, the testimony of women was not held in high regard. “It is better that the words of the Law be burned,” said the rabbis, “than be delivered to a woman.” But these Christian women had a greater message than that of the Law, for they knew that their Saviour was alive.

Mary’s faith was not extinguished; it was only eclipsed. The light was still there, but it was covered. Peter and John were in the same spiritual condition, but soon all three of them would move out of the shadows and into the light.

 

Faith Dawning (John 20:3–10)

John 20:3 suggests that Peter started off first to run to the tomb, but John 20:4 reports that John got there first. Perhaps John was a younger man in better physical condition, or perhaps John was just a better runner. It is tempting to “spiritualize” this footrace and relate it to Isaiah 40:31 and Hebrews 12:1–2. When a believer is out of fellowship with the Lord, it is difficult to run the race of faith. However, both men deserve credit for having the courage to run into enemy territory, not knowing what lay before them. The whole thing could have been a clever trap to catch the disciples.

When John arrived at the tomb, he cautiously remained outside and looked in. Perhaps he wanted Peter to be with him when he went into the burial chamber. What did John see? The graveclothes lying on the stone shelf without any evidence of violence or crime. But the graveclothes were empty! They lay there like an empty cocoon, still retaining the shape of Jesus’ body.

Peter arrived and impulsively went into the tomb, just as we would expect him to do. He also saw the linen clothes lying there empty and the cloth for the head carefully rolled and lying by itself. Grave robbers do not carefully unwrap the corpse and then leave the graveclothes neatly behind. In fact, with the presence of the spices in the folds of the clothes, it would be almost impossible to unwrap a corpse without damaging the wrappings. The only way those linen clothes could be left in that condition would be if Jesus passed through them as He arose from the dead.

John then entered the tomb and looked at the evidence. “He saw, and believed.”

When John wrote this account, he used three different Greek words for seeing. In John 20:5, the verb simply means “to glance in, to look in.” In John 20:6, the word means “to look carefully, to observe.” The word “saw” in John 20:8 means “to perceive with intelligent comprehension.” Their Resurrection faith was now dawning!

It seems incredible that the followers of Jesus did not expect Him to come out of the tomb alive. After all, He had told them many times that He would be raised from the dead. Early in His ministry He had said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19). After His resurrection, the disciples remembered that He had said this (John 2:22); however, His enemies remembered it too (Matt. 27:40, 63–64).

He compared Himself to Jonah (Matt. 12:40), and on two occasions clearly announced His resurrection after three days (Matt. 16:21; 20:19). On Thursday of His last week of ministry He again promised to be raised up and meet them in Galilee (Matt. 26:32, and see Luke 24:6–7).

What kind of faith did Peter and John have at that stage in their spiritual experience? They had faith based on evidence. They could see the graveclothes; they knew that the body of Jesus was not there. However, as good as evidence is to convince the mind, it can never change the life. Those of us who live centuries later cannot examine the evidence, for the material evidence (the tomb, the graveclothes) is no longer there for us to inspect. But we have the record in the Word of God (John 20:9) and that record is true (John 19:35; 21:24). In fact, it is faith in the Word that the Lord really wanted to cultivate in His disciples (see John 2:22; 12:16; 14:26). Peter made it clear that the Word of God, not personal experiences, should be the basis for our faith (1 Peter 1:12–21).

 

Faith Shining (John 20:11–18)

When I think of Mary Magdalene lingering alone in the garden, I recall Proverbs 8:17—“I love them that love Me; and those that seek Me early shall find Me.” Mary loved her Lord and came early to the garden to express that love. Peter and John had gone home by the time Mary got back to the tomb, so they did not convey to her what conclusion they had reached from the evidence they had examined. Mary still thought that Jesus was dead. Another verse comes to mind—Psalm 30:5, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”

Mary’s weeping was the loud lamentation so characteristic of Jewish people when they express their sorrow (John 11:31, 33). There is certainly nothing wrong with sincere sorrow, because God made us to shed tears; and weeping is good therapy for broken hearts. The sorrow of the Christian, however, must be different from the hopeless sorrow of the world (1 Thes. 4:13–18), because we have been born again “unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3, nasb). We weep—not because our believing loved ones have gone to heaven—but because they have left us and we miss them.

When Mary looked into the sepulcher, she saw two men in white. Their position at either end of the shelf where the body had been lying makes us think of the cherubim on the mercy seat (Ex. 25:17–19). It is as though God is saying, “There is now a new mercy seat! My Son has paid the price for sin, and the way is open into the presence of God!” Mary apparently was not disturbed at seeing these men, and there is no evidence that she knew they were angels. The brief conversation neither dried her tears nor quieted her mind. She was determined to find the body of Jesus.

Why did Mary turn back and not continue her conversation with the two strangers? Did she hear a sound behind her? Or did the angels stand and recognize the presence of their Lord? Perhaps both of these speculations are true or neither is true. She was certain that the Lord’s body was not in the tomb, so why linger there any longer?

Why did she not recognize the One for whom she was so earnestly searching? Jesus may have deliberately concealed Himself from her, as He would later do when He walked with the Emmaus disciples (Luke 24:13–32). It was still early and perhaps dark in that part of the garden. Her eyes were probably blinded by her tears as well.

Jesus asked her the same question that the angels had asked, “Why are you weeping?” How tragic that she was weeping when she could have been praising, had she realized that her Lord was alive! Then He added, “Whom are you seeking?” (He had asked the mob the same question in the Garden—John 18:4.) It is encouraging to us to know that “Jesus knows all about our sorrows.” The Saviour knew that Mary’s heart was broken and that her mind was confused. He did not rebuke her; tenderly, He revealed Himself to her.

All He had to do was to speak her name, and Mary immediately recognized Him. His sheep hear [recognize] His voice and He calls them by name (John 10:3). Apparently Mary had turned away from Jesus, for when He spoke her name, she had to turn back to look at Him again. What a blessed surprise it was to see the face of her beloved Master!

All she could say was, “Rabboni—my Master, my Teacher.” The title Rabboni is used in only one other place in the Gospels, Mark 10:51 (in the Greek text “Lord” is “Rabboni”). “Rabbi” and “Rabboni” were equivalent terms of respect. In later years, the Jews recognized three levels of teachers: rab (the lowest), rabbi, and rabboni (the highest).

Mary not only spoke to Him, but she grasped His feet and held on to Him. This was a natural gesture: now that she had found Him, she did not want to lose Him. She and the other believers still had a great deal to learn about His new state of glory; they still wanted to relate to Him as they had done during the years of His ministry before the cross.

Jesus permitted the other women to hold His feet (Matt. 28:9), and He did not forbid them. Why did He say to Mary, “Do not cling to Me”? One reason was that she would see Him again because He had not yet ascended to the Father. He remained on earth for forty days after His resurrection and often appeared to the believers to teach them spiritual truth (Acts 1:1–9). Mary had no need to panic; this was not her last and final meeting with the Lord.

A second reason is that she had a job to do—to go tell His brethren that He was alive and would ascend to the Father. “He is not ashamed to call them brethren” (Heb. 2:11). “I will declare Thy name unto My brethren” (Ps. 22:22). He had called His own servants (John 13:16) and friends (John 15:15), but now He called them brethren. This meant that they shared His resurrection power and glory.

Some students feel that Jesus did return to the Father on that morning, and that was the ascension He was referring to; but no other New Testament passage corroborates this interpretation. To say that He was fulfilling the symbolism of the Day of Atonement and presenting the blood to the Father is, I think, stretching a type too far (Lev. 16). For that matter, He had no blood to present; He had presented that on the cross when He was made sin for us. In His resurrection glory, Jesus was “flesh and bones” (Luke 24:39), not “flesh and blood.” The Resurrection itself was proof that the work of redemption had been completed (“raised because of our justification”—Rom. 4:24–25, nasb). What more could He do?

Our Lord never used the phrases “our Father” or “our God.” His relationship to the Father was different from that of the disciples, and He was careful to make that distinction. We say “our Father” and “our God” because all believers belong to the same family and have an equal standing before God. He reminded Mary and the other believers that God was their Father and that He would be with the Father in heaven after His ascension. In His Upper Room message, He had taught them that He would return to the Father so that the Spirit might come to them.

Though it was the same Jesus, only in a glorified body, it was not quite the same relationship. We must be careful not to relate to Christ “after the flesh” (1 Cor. 5:5–6), that is, relate to Him as though He were still in His state of humiliation. He is today the exalted Son of God in glory, and we must honor Him as such. The juvenile familiarity that some people display in public when they testify, pray, or sing only reveals that they have little understanding of Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 5:16. When John was with Jesus at the table, he leaned against His bosom (John 13:23); but when John saw Jesus on the Isle of Patmos, he fell at His feet as dead! (Rev. 1:17)

It would have been selfish and disobedient for Mary to have clung to Jesus and kept Him to herself. She arose and went to where the disciples were gathered and gave them the good news that she had seen Jesus alive. “I have seen the Lord!” (Note John 20:14, 18, 20, 25, 29.) Mark reports that these believers were mourning and weeping—and that they would not believe her! (Mark 16:9–11) Mary herself had been weeping, and Jesus had turned her sorrow into joy. If they had believed, their sorrow would also have turned to joy. Unbelief has a terribly deadening effect on a person. No wonder God warns us against “an evil heart of unbelief ” (Heb. 3:12).

Mary not only shared the fact of His resurrection and that she had seen Him personally, but she also reported the words that He had spoken to her. Again, we see the importance of the Word of God. Mary could not transfer her experience over to them, but she could share the Word; and it is the Word that generates faith (Rom. 10:17). The living Christ shared His living Word (1 Peter 1:23–25).

It is good to have faith that is based on solid evidence, but the evidence should lead us to the Word, and the Word should lead us to the Saviour. It is one thing to accept a doctrine and defend it; it is something else to have a personal relationship to the living Lord. Peter and John believed that Jesus was alive, but it was not until that evening that they met the risen Christ in person along with the other disciples. (Jesus appeared to Peter sometime during the afternoon, Luke 24:34; 1 Cor. 15:5.) Evidence that does not lead to experience is nothing but dead dogma. The key is faith in the Word of God.

Dr. Robert W. Dale, one of Great Britain’s leading Congregational pastors and theologians, was one day preparing an Easter sermon when a realization of the risen Lord struck him with new power.

“Christ is alive!” he said to himself. “Alive—alive—alive!” He paused, and then said, “Can that really be true? Living as really as I myself am?”

He got up from his desk and began to walk about the study, repeating, “Christ is living! Christ is living!”

Dr. Dale had known and believed this doctrine for years, but the reality of it overwhelmed him that day. From that time on, “the living Christ” was the theme of his preaching, and he had his congregation sing an Easter hymn every Sunday morning. “I want my people to get hold of the glorious fact that Christ is alive, and to rejoice over it; and Sunday, you know, is the day on which Christ left the dead.”

 

Historical faith says, “Christ lives!”

Saving faith says, “Christ lives in me!

Do you have saving faith? [4]

 

Perplexed Hearts: He Opens the Tomb (Luke 24:1–12)

We do not know at what time Jesus arose from the dead on the first day of the week, but it must have been very early. The earthquake and the angel (Matt. 28:2–4) opened the tomb, not to let Jesus out but to let the witnesses in. “Come and see, go and tell!” is the Easter mandate for the church.

Mary Magdalene had been especially helped by Jesus and was devoted to Him (Luke 8:2). She had lingered at the cross (Mark 15:47), and then she was first at the tomb. With her were Mary the mother of James; Joanna; and other devout women (Luke 24:10), hoping to finish preparing their Lord’s body for burial. It was a sad labor of love that was transformed into gladness when they discovered that Jesus was alive.

“Who will roll the stone away?” was their main concern. The Roman soldiers would not break the Roman seal, especially for a group of mourning Jewish women. But God had solved the problem for them; the tomb was open and there was no body to prepare!

At this point two angels appeared on the scene. Matthew 28:2 and Mark 16:5 mention only one of the two, the one who gave the message to the women. There was a kind rebuke in his message as he reminded them of their bad memories! More than once, Jesus had told His followers that He would suffer and die and be raised from the dead (Matt. 16:21; 17:22–23; 20:17–19; Luke 9:22, 44; 18:31–34). How sad it is when God’s people forget His Word and live defeated lives. Today, the Spirit of God assists us to remember His Word (John 14:26).

Obedient to their commission, the women ran to tell the disciples the good news, but the men did not believe them! (According to Mark 16:14, Jesus later rebuked them for their unbelief.) Mary Magdalene asked Peter and John to come to examine the tomb (John 20:1–10), and they too saw the proof that Jesus was not there. However, all that the evidence said was that the body was gone and that apparently there had been no violence.

As Mary lingered by the tomb weeping, Jesus Himself appeared to her (John 20:11–18). It is one thing to see the empty tomb and the empty graveclothes, but quite something else to meet the risen Christ. We today cannot see the evidence in the tomb, but we do have the testimony of the witnesses found in the inspired Word of God. And we can live out our faith in Jesus Christ and know personally that He is alive in us (Gal. 2:20).

Keep in mind that these women did not expect to see Jesus alive. They had forgotten His resurrection promises and went to the tomb only to finish anointing His body. To say that they had hallucinations and only thought they saw Jesus is to fly in the face of the evidence. And would this many people hallucinate about the same thing at the same time? Not likely. They became excited witnesses, even to their leaders, that Jesus Christ is alive! [5]

 

 

They Heard He Was Alive (Matt. 28:2–8)

“And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred” (Matt. 28:2, nasb). Two angels had appeared (Luke 24:4) and one of them had rolled the stone away from the door. Of course, the soldiers on duty were greatly frightened by this sudden demonstration of supernatural power. The stone was not rolled away to permit Jesus to come out, for He had already left the tomb. It was rolled back so that the people could see for themselves that the tomb was empty.

One of the angels spoke to the women and calmed their fears. “He is not here! Come, and see!” Keep in mind that these women, as well as the disciples, did not expect Jesus to be alive.

What did they see in the tomb? The graveclothes lying on the stone shelf, still wrapped in the shape of the body (John 20:5–7). Jesus had passed through the graveclothes and left them behind as evidence that He was alive. They lay there like an empty cocoon. There was no sign of struggle, the graveclothes were not in disarray. Even the napkin (which had been wrapped around His face) was folded carefully in a place by itself.

We cannot examine this evidence in the same way the believers did that first Easter Sunday. But we do have the evidence of the Word of God. Jesus was not held by the bonds of death (Acts 2:24). He had promised to arise from the dead, and His Word was never broken.

The remarkable change in the early believers is another proof of His resurrection. One day they were discouraged and hiding in defeat. The next day they were declaring His resurrection and walking in joyful victory. In fact, they were willing to die for the truth of the Resurrection. If all of this were a manufactured tale, it could never have changed their lives or enabled them to lay down their lives as martyrs.

There were over 500 witnesses who saw Jesus alive at one time (1 Cor. 15:3–8). These appearances of the risen Christ were of such a nature that they could not be explained as hallucinations or self-deception. The people who saw Him were surprised. It would have been impossible for over 500 people to suffer hallucinations at the same time. Even the Apostle Paul, who was an enemy of the church, saw the risen Christ; that experience transformed his life (Acts 9).

The existence of the church, the New Testament, and the Lord’s Day add further proof that Jesus is alive. For centuries, the Jews had been God’s people, and they had honored the seventh day, the Sabbath. Then a change took place: Jews and Gentiles united in the church and became God’s people; they met on the first day of the week, the Lord’s Day. The New Testament is a lie if Jesus is dead, for every part of it points to a risen Christ.

Of course, Christians have experienced His resurrection power in their own lives. While the inward, subjective experience alone would not prove our Lord’s historic resurrection, when combined with the other evidences, it adds great weight to the case. Still it is possible for people to be self-deluded. “Believers” in all kinds of cults will claim their way is true because of what they have experienced. But Christians have the weight of church history, Scripture, and dependable witnesses to back up their own personal experiences of faith.

“Come and see!” was followed by “Go and tell!” We must not keep the Resurrection news to ourselves. The angel sent the women to tell (of all people) Christ’s own disciples. They should have been expecting the news, but instead, they questioned it even when they heard it.

 

They Met the Living Christ Personally (Matt. 28:9–15)

It is when we are obeying God’s Word that He comes to us. Jesus had already appeared to Mary Magdalene in the garden (John 20:11–18; Mark 16:9). Notice that our Lord’s first two Resurrection appearances were to believing women. These faithful women were not only the last to leave Calvary, but they were also the first to come to the tomb. Their devotion to Jesus was rewarded.

“All hail!” can be translated, Grace. What a marvelous greeting for the Resurrection Day! The women fell at His feet, took hold of Him, and worshiped Him. There must have been some fear in their hearts, for He immediately assured them with His typical, “Be not afraid!”

Not only had the angel commissioned them, but the Lord also commissioned them. The phrase “My brethren” revealed the intimate relationship between Christ and His followers. Jesus had spoken similar words to Mary Magdalene earlier that morning (John 20:17). Jesus reinforced the instructions of the angel that the disciples meet Him in Galilee (see Matt. 28:7). In the Garden, Jesus had told His disciples that He would rise from the dead and meet them in Galilee; but they had forgotten (Matt. 26:31–32).

While the believers were worshiping the living Christ, the unbelievers were plotting to destroy the witness of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. By now, some of the soldiers had realized that they were in a desperate plight. The Roman seal had been broken, the stone had been rolled away, and the body was not in the tomb. For a Roman soldier to fail in his duty was an offense punishable by death (Acts 12:19; 16:27–28). But the soldiers were shrewd: They did not report to Pilate or to their superior officers; they reported to the Jewish chief priests. They knew that these men were as anxious to cover up the miracle as were the soldiers themselves! Between the chief priests, the elders, and the soldiers, they put together a story that would explain the empty tomb: The body was stolen.

By examining this story, we see that it actually proves the resurrection of Jesus Christ. If Jesus’ body was stolen, then it was taken either by His friends or His enemies. His friends could not have done it since they had left the scene and were convinced that Jesus was dead. His enemies would not steal His body because belief in His resurrection was what they were trying to prevent. They would have defeated their own purposes if they had removed His body. And, if they had taken it, why did they not produce it and silence the witness of the early church?

Anyone who stole the body would have taken the body in the graveclothes. Yet the empty graveclothes were left in the tomb in an orderly manner. This was hardly the scene of a grave robbery.

The religious leaders had given money to Judas to betray Jesus. They also gave money to the soldiers to say that the body had been stolen. These Romans would have demanded a large price, for their lives were at stake. If their superiors heard that these soldiers had failed, they could have been executed. Even if the story got to Pilate, he was not likely to do much about it. He was sure that Jesus was dead (Mark 15:43–45), and that was all that mattered to him. The disappearance of Jesus’ body created no problems for Pilate.

Mark Twain once wrote that a lie can go around the world while truth is still lacing up her boots. There is something in human nature that makes it easy for people to believe lies. It was not until the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost, and the powerful witness of the Apostles, that the Jews in Jerusalem discovered the truth: Jesus Christ is alive! Any sincere person who studies this evidence with an open heart will conclude that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is a historic fact that cannot be refuted.

Our Lord also appeared to the two Emmaus disciples that day (Luke 24:13–32), and also to the ten disciples in the Upper Room in Jerusalem (John 20:19–25). A week later, He appeared to the eleven disciples and dealt with Thomas’ unbelief (John 20:19–25). On that first Easter Sunday, Jesus also made a special appearance to Peter (Luke 24:33–35; 1 Cor. 15:5).

That day began with the disciples and the women thinking Jesus was dead. Then they were told that He was alive. Following that announcement, they met Him personally. There was one more stage in their experience.

 

They Shared the Good News with Others (Matt. 28:16–20)

Some Bible scholars equate this “mountain meeting” in Galilee with the appearance of the Lord to “more than 500 brethren at one time” (1 Cor. 15:6). The fact that some of the people present doubted His resurrection would suggest that more than the eleven Apostles were present, for these men were now confirmed believers. Our Lord’s ascension did not take place at this time, but later, after He had ministered to His disciples in Jerusalem (Luke 24:44–53).

Matthew 28:18–20 is usually called “the Great Commission,” though this statement is no greater than that in any of the other Gospels, nor is it the last statement Jesus made before He returned to heaven. However, this declaration does apply to us as believers, so we should understand the factors that are involved.

 

An authority (v. 18). In this verse, the word power means “authority,” the right to use power. The entire Gospel of Matthew stresses the authority of Jesus Christ. There was authority to His teaching (Matt. 7:29). He exercised authority in healing (Matt. 8:1–13), and even in forgiving sins (Matt. 9:6). He had authority over Satan, and He delegated that authority to His Apostles (Matt. 10:1). At the close of his Gospel, Matthew made it clear that Jesus has ALL authority.

Since Jesus Christ today has all authority, we may obey Him without fear. No matter where He leads us, no matter what circumstances we face, He is in control. By His death and resurrection, Jesus defeated all enemies and won for Himself all authority.

Christianity is a missionary faith. The very nature of God demands this, for God is love and God is not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9). Our Lord’s death on the cross was for the whole world. If we are the children of God and share His nature, then we will want to tell the good news to the lost world.

When we read the Book of Acts, we see that the early church operated on the basis of the Lord’s sovereign authority. They ministered in His name. They depended on His power and guidance. They did not face a lost world on the basis of their own authority, but on the authority of Jesus Christ.

 

An activity (vv. 19–20a). The Greek verb translated go is actually not a command but a present participle (going). The only command in the entire Great Commission is “make disciples” (“teach all nations”). Jesus said, “While you are going, make disciples of all the nations.” No matter where we are, we should be witnesses for Jesus Christ and seek to win others to Him (Acts 11:19–21).

The term “disciples” was the most popular name for the early believers. Being a disciple meant more than being a convert or a church member. Apprentice might be an equivalent term. A disciple attached himself to a teacher, identified with him, learned from him, and lived with him. He learned, not simply by listening, but also by doing. Our Lord called twelve disciples and taught them so that they might be able to teach others (Mark 3:13ff).

A disciple, then, is one who has believed on Jesus Christ and expressed this faith by being baptized. He remains in the fellowship of the believers that he might be taught the truths of the faith (Acts 2:41–47). He is then able to go out and win others and teach them. This was the pattern of the New Testament church (2 Tim. 2:1–2).

In many respects, we have departed from this pattern. In most churches, the congregation pays the pastor to preach, win the lost, and build up the saved—while the church members function as cheerleaders (if they are enthusiastic) or spectators. The “converts” are won, baptized, and given the right hand of fellowship, then they join the other spectators. How much faster our churches would grow, and how much stronger and happier our church members would be, if each one were discipling another believer. The only way a local church can “be fruitful and multiply” (instead of growing by “additions”) is with a systematic discipleship program. This is the responsibility of every believer, and not just a small group who have been “called to go.”

Jesus had opened the minds of His disciples to understand the Scriptures (Luke 24:44–45). They knew what He wanted them to teach to their own converts. It is not enough to win people to the Saviour; we must also teach them the Word of God. This is also a part of the Great Commission.

 

An ability (v. 20b). Jesus is not only “in the midst” when His people gather together (Matt. 18:20), but He is also present with them as they scatter into the world to witness. Had He remained on earth, Jesus could not have fulfilled this promise. It was when the Spirit came that Jesus could be with His people no matter where they were.

Dr. G. Campbell Morgan told about an experience in his life that involved this statement. Early in his Christian life, Morgan used to visit several ladies once a week to read the Bible to them. When he came to the end of Matthew’s Gospel, Morgan read, “Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of this age.” He added, “Isn’t that a wonderful promise?” One of the ladies quickly replied, “Young man, that is not a promise—it is a fact!”

There are no conditions for us to meet, or even to believe; for Jesus Christ is with us. Paul discovered this to be true when he was seeking to establish a church in the difficult city of Corinth. Obeying this commission, Paul came to the city (Acts 18:1), won people to Christ and baptized them (Acts 18:8) and taught them the word (Acts 18:11). When the going was tough, Paul had a special visit from the Lord: “Be not afraid... for I am with thee” (Acts 18:9–10).

The phrase “the end of the age” indicates that our Lord has a plan; He is the Lord of history. As the churches follow His leading and obey His Word, they fulfill His purposes in the world. It will all come to a climax one day; meanwhile, we must all be faithful. [6]

 

F.     The empty tomb (20:1-9).

John’s Gospel comes to a conclusion with a proclamation of Jesus’ victory over death (chap. 20) followed by an epilogue (chap. 21). Each Gospel writer stressed certain aspects of the events. John began with a testimony of how he came to personal faith in the Resurrection by considering the evidence found in the open tomb.

20:1-2. The first day of the week, Sunday, Mary of Magdala and other women (cf. we in v. 2) came to the tomb. “Mary of Magdala” is a translation of the same Greek words which elsewhere are rendered “Mary Magdalene” (Matt. 28:1; Mark 16:1, 9; Luke 24:10). Her devotion to Jesus, living and dead, was based on her gratitude for His delivering her from bondage to Satan. She had been an observer at the cross and now was the first person at the grave. This tomb had been closed with a large rock door (Mark 16:3-4) and had been sealed by the authority of the Roman governor Pontius Pilate (Matt. 27:65-66). The women were amazed to see an open and apparently empty tomb. They ran and told Peter and the beloved disciple (cf. John 19:26) that a terrible thing had occurred. They assumed that grave robbers had desecrated the tomb.

20:3-9. Peter and John started a footrace to the tomb. John beat Peter to the garden and looked in the tomb. It was not quite empty for John saw the grave clothes. Perhaps his first thought was that the women had made a mistake! He bent over and looked (blepei) in but did not enter the tomb, probably for fear of defilement. When Peter . . . arrived he rushed in and saw (theōrei, “beheld attentively”) the grave clothes and the separate burial cloth. He must have remained inside puzzled at what he saw. After a period of time John went in and saw (eiden, “perceived”—the third Gr. word for “see” in these verses) the significance of the grave clothes and believed. Peter must have been thinking, “Why would a grave robber have left the clothes in this order? Why take the body of Jesus?” But John perceived that the missing body and the position of the grave clothes was not due to a robbery. He realized that Jesus had risen from the dead and had gone through the grave clothes. The tomb was open not to let Jesus’ body out but to let the disciples and the world see that He rose.

This section of John’s Gospel (20:1-9) is a powerful eyewitness testimony which strikes the perceptive reader as being psychologically and historically true. John commented (v. 9) that even after a long period of teaching by Jesus the disciples still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead (cf. Pss. 16:10-11; 110:1, 4; Isa. 53:11-12).

 

G.     Jesus’ appearance to Mary (20:10-18).

20:10-14. Jesus’ first resurrection appearance was to Mary of Magdala, out of whom He had cast seven demons (Luke 8:2). (For a list of His resurrection appearances see Matt. 28.) The disciples returned to their homes while Mary remained outside the tomb crying. John must not have yet told her that Jesus was risen. He probably was too stunned and puzzled to say anything significant. Mary looked into the tomb and saw two individuals who were angels. In the Bible when angels appeared to people, the angels looked like men; they did not have halos or wings. In certain visions, winged beings appeared (e.g., Isa. 6) but the norm for angels was that they were in humanlike forms.

Because of her grief Mary did not notice anything unusual. Their question and her answer set the stage for the greatest “recognition scene” in all of history (perhaps the second greatest is “I am Joseph”; cf. Gen. 45:1-3). The appearance of Jesus to Mary was so unexpected that she did not realize that it was Jesus. The fact that He appeared to Mary rather than to Pilate or Caiaphas or to one of His disciples is significant. That a woman would be the first to see Him is an evidence of Jesus’ electing love as well as a mark of the narrative’s historicity. No Jewish author in the ancient world would have invented a story with a woman as the first witness to this most important event. Furthermore, Jesus may have introduced Himself to Mary first because she had so earnestly sought Him. She was at the cross while He was dying (John 19:25), and she went to His tomb early on Sunday morning (20:1).

20:15-16. Mary talked with Jesus but still did not realize who He was. Some suggest that Jesus’ appearance was changed; others say she had a temporary “blindness” as did the Emmaus Road disciples who “were kept from recognizing Him” (Luke 24:16) until His act of disclosure. Others say that possibly the tears in her eyes kept her from recognizing Him.

Jesus said to her, Mary. As the Good Shepherd, He calls His sheep by name (cf. John 10:3) and “they know His voice” (10:4). Immediately she recognized Him! She responded with the cry Rabboni! (which means my Teacher)

20:17-18. She may have embraced Him physically, for the Lord responded, Do not hold on to Me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to My brothers and tell them. . . . These words spoke of a new relationship, new relatives, and a new responsibility. Many wanted to “hold onto” Jesus. The KJV translation “Touch Me not,” has caused many interpreters to wonder why He could not be “touched.” The NIV translation is more accurate, for He certainly was not untouchable (cf. Matt. 28:9; John 20:27). Mary had lost Jesus once before (at His crucifixion) and it was natural to fear the loss of His presence again.

Jesus said, in effect, “This (the physical contact) is not My real presence for the church.

*      A new relationship will begin with My Ascension and the gift of the Holy Spirit to the church.”

*      Jesus then explained the fact of the new relatives. He called His disciples His brothers. Earlier He had said they were friends: “I no longer call you servants . . . instead, I have called you friends” (15:15). Believers in Jesus become a part of Jesus’ family with God as their Father (cf. Heb. 2:11-12; Rom. 8:15-17, 29; Gal. 3:26).

*      Mary’s new responsibility was to testify to His risen presence. She was the recipient of four special graces: to see angels; to see Jesus risen; to be the first to see Him alive; and to be a proclaimer of the good news. Christians today are also the recipients of special grace; they too are given this new responsibility to witness to the world (cf. Matt. 28:16-20).

Jesus’ words, I am returning to My Father indicate His unique sonship. Mary and the other women told the news to the disciples, but according to Luke, they did not believe her or the other women “because their words seemed to them like nonsense” (Luke 24:11; cf. Luke 24:23).

H.     Jesus’ appearance to His disciples (20:19-23).

[7]

 

THE KEY

Why is Jesus’ resurrection the key to the Christian faith?

•     Jesus rose from the dead, just as he said. We can be confident, therefore, that Jesus will accomplish all he has promised.

•     Jesus’ bodily resurrection shows us that the living Christ, not a false prophet or impostor, is ruler of God’s eternal kingdom.

•     Because Jesus was resurrected, we can be certain of our own resurrection. Death is not the end—there is future life.

•     The divine power that brought Jesus back to life is now available to us to bring our spiritually dead selves back to life.

The Resurrection is the basis for the church’s witness to the world.

 

 

[8]

EVIDENCE THAT JESUS ACTUALLY DIED AND AROSE

This evidence demonstrates Jesus’ uniqueness in history and proves that he is God’s Son. No one else was able to predict his own resurrection and then accomplish it.

Proposed Explanations for the Empty Tomb

Evidence against These Explanations

References

Jesus was only unconcious and later revived.

A Roman soldier told Pilate that Jesus was dead.

Mark 15:44–45

 

The Roman soldiers did not break Jesus’ legs because he had already died, and one of them pierced Jesus’ side with a spear.

John 19:32–34

 

Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus wrapped Jesus’ body and placed it in the tomb.

John 19:38–42

The women made a mistake and went to the wrong tomb.

Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw Jesus placed in the tomb.

Matthew 27:59–61; Mark 15:47; Luke 23:55

 

On Sunday morning, Peter and John also went to the same tomb.

John 20:3–9

Unknown thieves stole Jesus’ body.

The tomb was sealed and guarded by Roman soldiers.

Matthew 27:65–66

The disciples stole Jesus’ body

The disciples were ready to die for their faith. Stealing Jesus’ body would have been admitting that their faith was meaningless.

Acts 12:2

 

The tomb was guarded and sealed.

Matthew 27:66

The religious leaders stole Jesus’ body to produce it later.

If the religious leaders had taken Jesus’ body, they would have produced it to stop the rumors of his resurrection.

None

[9]

 

The Resurrection of Christ Importance of the Resurrection

 

 

In this chapter we wish to examine carefully the actual evidence for His resurrection. If all of this is somehow a delusion and if Jesus of Nazareth did not really rise from the dead, then He is no different from other great men who are also dead. He is worse than they, in fact, because He is thereby branded as either a charlatan or a madman, since He staked all His claims to absolute deity on His promise to return from the dead.

 

On the other hand, if the resurrection is really a demonstrable fact of history, then not only are His claims vindicated, but so are His promises. Death is not, after all, the great victor, but is a defeated foe. He has “begotten us again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3). “Now is Christ risen from the dead,… even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:20, 22).

 

The Foundation of Christianity

 

Without the resurrection it is quite certain there would have been no Christian church. With the ignominious death of their Master, the disciples were utterly confused and afraid for their own lives. There is not the remotest possibility that they could have continued as teachers of the Nazarenes doctrines, and even less that others could have been persuaded to follow them, in those circumstances.

 

But with their assurance that Christ was alive, they went forth everywhere proclaiming the resurrection, and multitudes became believers in their living Lord. The importance of the resurrection in the preaching of the early church is quickly seen by scanning the book of Acts. (Note Acts 2:22-36; 3:13-18; 4:10-12, 33; 5:29-32; 10:37-43; 13:27-37; 17:2-3, 30-32; 23:6; 24:14-16; 25:19; 26:6-8, 22-23; etc.).

 

Similarly in the epistles, the resurrection is paramount (e.g., Romans 1:3-4; 6:3-9; 1 Corinthians 15:1-58; 2 Corinthians 4:10-14; Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 1:19-23; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 2:12; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 4:14; 1 Timothy 3:15; 2 Timothy 2:8-11; Hebrews 13:20; 1 Peter 1:21; etc.). Even where the resurrection is not explicitly emphasized, it is always assumed. The final book, Revelation, opens with Christs identification of Himself as “the first begotten of the dead,” and as the one “that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forevermore” (Revelation 1:5, 18).

 

Predictions of the Resurrection

 

The resurrection caught the disciples completely by surprise. There is no indication that they had any hope after Christs death. In fact, when they did see Him they were frightened, thinking they were seeing a ghost (Luke 24:37).

 

And this was in spite of the fact that they should have known that He would die and rise again, both from the Scriptures and from His own words. He later told them: “These are the words which I spoke unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me” (Luke 24:44).


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