From the Blog
Resurrection Sunday: Jesus is Raised from the Dead
Matthew 28:1-8; Mark 16:1-13; Luke 24:1-43; John 20:1-29
The culmination of all of these days leading up to Resurrection Sunday should result in the unfettered release of all our built up anticipation. This is the day that we really rejoice because without the resurrection, there would be no hope for eternity. Christ had to die to pay the penalty for our sins, but this alone does not deal with the inevitable outcome of our mortal bodies that we will also eventually die. Jesus, by His own power, rose up from the grave, conquered death, and is sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
This is the culmination of the gospel, the good news that we can be restored, not back to the Garden of Eden, but to a greater and eternal Kingdom where we are made joint heirs with Christ to rule and reign with Him forever.
The account of Jesus’ resurrection should bolster our faith as we think of the many eye witness accounts of the risen Christ. Even the story of Thomas’ encounter with the resurrected Lord should encourage us. After many, including all of the other ten apostles, had seen Jesus alive, Thomas is adamant that he will not believe until he sees with his own eyes and touches Jesus with his own hands. When Jesus enters the room where they were all waiting, He is gentle with Thomas and makes this grand proclamation, knowing that He is about to return to heaven, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29)
It is easy for us to judge Thomas, just as we have judged the rest of the disciples and everyone else that seemed to miss the plain teachings of Jesus, but we have to realize the real struggle that we all have in coming to faith. Paul tells us in the epistle to the Romans that we actively, ‘suppress the truth’ even when it is plainly manifested in front of us. (Romans 1:19) Pilate used a clever dodge when he asked Jesus a very philosophical question, “What is truth?” (John 18:38) Truth was standing right in front of him and he could not acknowledge it.
Let us take today, to not only rejoice in the resurrection of Jesus and all that it means for those of us who have faith in Christ, but also to thank God that He has given sight to our blind eyes and life to our dead spirit so that we might see and believe in the way, the truth, and the life.
Saturday: Jesus is Buried
Matthew 27:57-66; Mark 15:42-47; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:38-42
The day after Jesus died would have been extremely quiet. For everyone who attending Jesus’ trial and execution, there would have been an uneasy feeling. Even the centurion, tasked with crucifying Jesus, was astounded by Jesus. (Matthew 27:54) The Bible does not tell us what happened with the disciples after Jesus died. For fear of their own lives, they probably kept themselves hidden. There was one follower of Jesus who was not embarrassed to show public loyalty. Joseph of Arimathea went to Pilate and requested Jesus’ body for burial and just as Jesus had come into this world wrapped in swaddling clothes in a rented manger, so He would end His life wrapped in burial clothes in a borrowed tomb.
The Pharisees were not satisfied with their gruesome victory. They went to Pilate and complained that Jesus had said He would rise from the dead, and they did not want Jesus’ disciples getting any ideas, so they set up a guard over the tomb. Ironically enough, the Pharisees remembered Jesus’ teachings, while His disciples seemed to forget what He had just told them days before.
As we reflect on this quiet day, maybe it would be best if we take some quiet as well to reflect back on the stories leading up to Christ’s death. Not only had Jesus claimed multiple times that He would have to die and rise again, but the whole of the Old Testament was leading up to this point where the Messiah would come and save the world. Did the disciples really think that God’s plan could be thwarted by a few corrupt leaders? How often do we forget that God’s plans are always perfect and that He will always keep His word?
In many ways, we are still living in this Saturday. Sure, the resurrection has brought us to newness of life and the Body of Christ continues its work through the Church, but we are still in a time of waiting for the promises of God to be fulfilled. Fortunately, we have a hopeful anticipation based on the promises of God that we can be certain He will fulfill.
Let us spend today looking forward to that glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ. (Titus 2:13)