‘He is not here; for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay’ Matthew 28:6
“Why seek ye the living among the dead … the Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again”
In our last lesson, we saw how Jesus the Messiah shed His blood on the cross to which He was nailed, to pay for the sins of the world and to open for sinners a door of everlasting peace. Everything happened
exactly as God’s prophets had foretold it:
The Messiah was mocked, scourged and nailed to a cross. Like the innocent ram that died in the place of Abraham’s son, Jesus, the sinless Redeemer, died in our place. Just before Jesus died, He shouted,
Praise be to God, the Lord Jesus has completed God’s plan of salvation!
The death of the Messiah on the cross is the most important news in all the Holy Scriptures, because that death is the reason God can forgive us our sins and still remain righteous. However, while the death of the Messiah is the most important news, what we are about to study is the most wonderful news, because we are going to hear how God raised Jesus from the dead.
As we already read, after Jesus died on the cross, a soldier took a spear and stabbed it into Jesus’ side, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water,
proving that He was dead.
We saw also that a rich man took the body of Jesus, and placed it in a new tomb that he had chiselled out of the rock for himself. A huge round stone was rolled over the tomb’s entrance. Everything happened exactly as God’s prophets had foretold it.
Thus, in the Gospel, it is written: (Matthew 27:62-66) “Now the next day, that followed the day of preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive,
Command, therefore, that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say to the people, He is risen from the dead; so the last error shall be worse than the first. Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch; go your way, make it as sure as ye can. So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone,
and setting a watch”.
(Matthew 28:1-4) “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. And, behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightening, and
his raiment white as snow.
And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men”.
Thus when the women arrived at the cemetery, (Luke 24:2-48) “They found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them, in shining garments; and as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them,
He is not here, but is risen! Remember how he spoke unto you when he was yet in Galilee, saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. And they remembered his words, and returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest. It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary, the mother of James, and their words seemed to them as idle tales, and
they believed them not.
Then arose Peter, and ran unto the sepulchre; and, stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves, and departed, wondering in himself at that which was come to pass.
And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about 11 kilometres. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. And it came to pass that, while they communed together and reasoned,
But their eyes were holden that they should not recognise him. And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one with another, as ye walk, and are sad? And one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering, said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days? And he said unto them,
And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet, mighty in deed and word before God and all the people; and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. But we hoped that it had been he who should have redeemed Israel; and, besides all this, today is the third day since these things were done. Yea, and certain women also of our company amazed us, who were early at the sepulchre; and when they found not his body, they came, saying that they had also seen a vision of angels,
who said that he was alive.
And certain of those who were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even as the women had said; but him they saw not. Then he said unto them, O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them, in all the scriptures,
the things concerning himself.
And they drew near unto the village, to which they went; and he made as though he would have gone farther. But they constrained him, saying, abide with us; for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them. And it came to pass, as he sat eating with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened,
and they recognised him;
and he vanished out of their sight. And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us along the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?
And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and those who were with them, saying,
The Lord is risen indeed,
and hath appeared to Simon. And they told what things were done along the way, and how he was known to them in the breaking of bread. And as they thus spoke,
and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? And why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet,
that it is I myself;
handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. And when he had thus spoken, he showed them his hands and his feet. And while they believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here anything to eat? And they gave him a piece of broiled fish, and a honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them.
And he said unto 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. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, and said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus Christ had to suffer,
and to rise from the dead the third day;
and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things”.
(John 20:24-31) “But Thomas, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples, therefore, said unto him,
But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. And, after eight days, again his disciples were inside, and Thomas was with them;
then came Jesus,
the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith he to Thomas, Reach here thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach here thy hand, and thrust it into my side; and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered, and said unto him,
My Lord and my God.
Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed; blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written,
that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ,
the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name”.
What a thrilling story we have read! Jesus rose from the dead! He conquered one of man’s greatest enemies:
The grave could not hold Him. On the third day, Jesus came right out of His grave clothes, like a butterfly leaving his chrysalis shell. Only the grave clothes remained where the body of Jesus had been lying. The Lord Jesus Christ arose in a glorious body like the body which everyone who believes in Him will one day receive! That is the reason the Scripture says: “But
now is Christ risen from the dead
and become the first fruits of them that sleep. 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 Cor. 15:20-22)
The resurrection of Jesus proves that
Do you remember that Jesus said,
“I am the resurrection, and the life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live” (John 11:25)
Jesus promised to give eternal life to all those who believe in Him, but
if He Himself had not conquered death,
how could He save others from the power of death and sin and hell?
Perhaps an illustration will help. A child is playing in the waves along a river. Suddenly a strong current sweeps him out into the deep water. He desperately tries to get back to shore but cannot. The child will die unless someone rescues him. There is a man on the shore who sees the child and yells to him, “Don’t be afraid. I will save you!” So the man swims out to where the child is, but, alas, the currents are too strong for him. Both he and the child drown. The man intended to rescue the child, but he lacked the power to carry out his intention. The river current was too strong for him. Similarly, we hear those who claim to be saviours, telling people, “Follow me, trust me, and you’ll get into Paradise.” Those who make such promises may have good intentions, but they cannot accomplish what they promise.
They cannot even save themselves,
because they are utterly unable to overcome the power of sin and death. The power of death is too strong for them, and when they die, they will be buried, their bodies will decay in the grave, and their souls will await the Day of Judgement. But it was not that way with the Lord Jesus. He is the One He claimed to be! Everything took place just as He predicted. Jesus died as a sacrifice to take away sin, was buried, and then on the third day,
He came out of the grave!
Never has there been anyone among the prophets who died, was buried, and then came out of the tomb never to die again! But that is what Jesus the Messiah did!
He defeated death and the grave!
He overcame sin and Satan and death and hell! And the most wonderful thing in all of this is that whoever truly believes this good news about the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ will share in His glory forever! That is what the Lord Jesus proclaimed after He had risen from the dead, saying, “Fear not; I am the first and the last; I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold,
Amen, and have the keys of hell and of death” (Rev. 1:17,18)
God raised Jesus to life, so that you might know for sure that He is the Savior and Judge of the world, whom God appointed. That is what the Scriptures declare, when they say: “Neither is there any salvation in any other; for there is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved … Because he hath appointed a day, in which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; concerning which he hath given assurance unto all men, in that
he hath raised him from the dead
… If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved … For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 4:12; 17:31; Rom. 10:9,13) Amen!
God willing, in our next lesson we will continue in the Gospel to see how the Lord Jesus ascended to heaven after He had appeared to His disciples over a forty-day period and showed them many convincing proofs that
May God give you insight into all that you have studied, and may you carefully consider this verse from His holy Word:
“[Jesus] who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification” (Romans 4:25)
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