But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
1 Corinthians 15:20-22
In no way do we deserve the sacrifice Christ made on Calvary. The only begotten Son of God left the splendors of glory to come to the footstool He created to suffer at the hands of those He came to redeem. He chose torture, mocking, agony, and shame, because of His love for His Father and His love for His people, who were imprisoned and sentenced to death for their sin. He was aware that many wouldn’t appreciate it, they would even come to deny that it ever happened, but some would believe on His name and become the sons of God. He knows us, He values us, and He did the unthinkable to have a relationship with us forever. We are the guilty ones. He is the perfect Son of God. What He did was redeem us from the sin of Adam. The best illustration of the difference between Christ and humanity is found in the gracious words from the cross - “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” and “ It is Finished.”
28 In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.
Can you feel the atmosphere in this verse? Determination. Faithful love. Why are they going to a tomb that has been sealed by the power of Rome? These women have been forever changed by their encounters with Jesus, by His love, grace, and forgiveness. They might have said, “we thought He was the one - we saw His miracles and no one ever spoke like this man.” Instead, they are doing the only thing they can think to do; show kindness to Christ. I am sure that their love for Jesus is raw and the shock of what He suffered on Golgotha nightmarishly real. Regardless of their personal feelings and doubts, faithfully, they walk toward the guarded tomb with spices to anoint the body. The Roman guards were not likely to be kind to these ladies, if for no other reason than they were associated with Jesus. There were a lot of things to stop them. The world would understand if they came to their senses and turned around. But they didn’t turn around. Do we?
2 And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.3 His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:4 And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.
The soldiers of Rome weren’t worthy opponents when they came up against Heavenly hosts. They shake and become as dead men. A great earthquake and an angel came to roll the stone back from the door. It was not necessary for them to let Jesus out, He holds all power in Heaven and on Earth, but they came to let the women in.
5 And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.6 He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
I can’t help but wonder if the angel might have added a little emphasis to the “as he said” portion of their message. He knows who Jesus is. Do we? Jesus has told them that the Son of Man will be betrayed and killed, and be raised again on the third day (Matthew 16:21-22). The disciples had tried to stop Him from even going to Jerusalem. The women are realizing their friend Jesus is the Son of God. He can do all things. Didn’t He say that no man takes his life from Him- He has the power to lay his life down and take it back up again? “Is anything too hard for God?”
Come see the place where the Lord lay. They were not asked to just take his word for it. The Angel invites them to see it for themselves. That is still the invitation. If you want to know if Jesus Christ is God, you will have to come and see for yourself. “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” Becoming a Christian is a giant leap of faith, there are no shortcuts. You won’t be given a sign or a miracle, you will have to surrender yourself at His feet to find out that He is who He said He is and will do what He said he will do. He is the Son that loves and is obedient to His Father. He alone can offer you new life, new hope, and a future. Do you feel His call to you, come and see?
7 And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you. 8 And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.
And when you know, you go! This is what the Christian life is all about. When you know Him for yourself, the next move is to go out and tell everyone. We are to make disciples of men. They ran to tell the disciples! I like to contrast their trudging steps of earlier that morning with their sprinting away from the empty tomb in unspeakable joy! It should be noted that Jesus himself raised or brought back to life people during his ministry. Lazarus and the widow of Nain’s son are examples. These that Jesus raised were quickened back to life. They came forth in the same earthly body and would eventually die again. Jesus is different. His resurrection includes a new body, never to die again. The removal of the sting of death. He is the first fruit of those that die in Christ.
In the Old Testament, the first fruits offering was made in the temple to show that every good thing they had received from their labors was actually a gift from God. That all their blessings were due to His goodness, and they were recognizing His ownership of all creation. Jesus offered himself to God for the sin of the world. His resurrection showed that everlasting life belongs to him. He brought that gift to us, and we too will rise. Because He lives, we can live, also.
9 And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshiped him.10 Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.
Here stands Jesus! The only reasonable reaction- worship. Every disciple had a reason for fear. Each in their own way, had failed Him. He says, “Fear Not”. He not only conquered death, He paid for the sin that is causing their fear. And so it begins, a second command to go and tell. It’s a command that has never been rescinded. No other message is as desperately needed. Jesus lives, and you can see Him.
Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8, records a list of eye witnesses to the resurrection of Jesus. He includes Himself as one born out of due time. He goes on to say in verses 12-19 how significant the resurrection is and how the disciples testified as eyewitnesses. Most men lie to get out of trouble but these men suffered or died because they would not deny the resurrected Christ.
Happy Easter! What an emotional week this is for a Christian! We mournfully walk through the triumphant entry, remember the betrayal, the scourging, and the cross. We mourn our King’s suffering. We feel the darkness hanging over the earth, the earthquake, the temple veil being torn top to bottom. Then comes the resurrection. The tomb is empty! He is not here, He is risen. Just like He said! Thank you God that we can always cling to the things He said. He is our redeemer kinsman. Savior and Lord! Thank you, Lord, for the shameful suffering of Calvary for someone as unworthy as I am.
It simply cannot be done. I can not tell you what I know about the resurrection of Jesus Christ in any kind of complete or comprehensible way. It is frustrating, because if you only knew how good He is and how glorious it is to know Him in the pardon and forgiveness of Sin, you would be like me, completely overwhelmed. I can’t overstate the importance. I don’t have the skill to describe it. You will have to come and see for yourself. Jesus is better than I can tell you. He lives! He speaks to us today. He will take you all the way to Heaven and there He will be able to keep you for all of eternity. “Oh, the love of Jesus!”
Thank you for studying with us! God bless!