The Glorious Resurrection of Jesus
Mark tells us that very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, several ladies came to the tomb and found that the stone covering the entrance of the tomb had been rolled away and the tomb mysteriously empty. A young man clothed in a long white robe was sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed, but he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified.” “He is risen, go and tell His disciples that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him as He said to you.” Luke records the following, “Remember how He spoke to you when He was still 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. Then they returned from the tomb and told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest” (Luke 24:7-9). When Jesus’ disciples heard it, they ran to the place where Jesus had been buried. When they arrived, they also saw that the tomb was empty except for the burial cloth that Joseph of Arimathea had placed on the body.
If it can be shown that Jesus did not rise from the dead then Jesus is discredited as Redeemer and Son of God, for He frequently appealed to His future resurrection as evidence of the truth of His claims. For example Jesus said, “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matt. 12:40). He also said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again” (Mark 8:31). Even the enemies said that His promise to rise again was part of His claim: “Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise’” (Matthew 27:63). The Old Testament predicted the resurrection of Jesus in David’s God-inspired statement: “For Thou will not abandon my soul to Sheol; neither wilt Thou allow Thy Holy One to undergo decay” (Psalm 16:10 NASB).
That Jesus rose from the dead is supported by the fact that He was seen by many people after His resurrection. Jesus appeared first to Mary Magdalene and then to His apostles. When Thomas was told, “We have seen the Lord!” Thomas said, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it!” Jesus then showed Himself so that his doubt could be answered. Jesus appeared to His disciples at various times over a period of forty days, and the Scriptures say that He gave many convincing proofs that He was alive. Paul also reported that He appeared to over 500 eyewitnesses.
The reality of the resurrection is what changed the disciples from a group of frightened people to a band of courageous soldiers of the cross. They had deserted Jesus but now courageously proclaimed His resurrection. Their bold and courageous behavior does not make sense unless they knew with absolute certainty that Jesus had been raised from the dead. The resurrection of Jesus sets Christianity apart from all other religions. No other religious leader has broken the power of death and been raised from the dead. Paul said, “….concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead” (Rom. 1:3-4).
“Daily Devotions by Guy Roberson”
From Expository Files 23.2; February 2016