Matthew – God’s Purposes
If we cannot believe in the resurrection of Jesus then our faith in Jesus merely as a great Teacher, Prophet or good man is useless in the grand scheme of God’s Plan. A relationship with the God, through His Son, Jesus cannot be built if we do not accept Jesus as the Son of God who came to seek and to save lost people, died to pay for the sin of humanity and rose again to prove He is who He says He is…the Victor over death and the evil that leads to eternal death.
When trying to cover up the truth in business, skeletons in family closets, and other destructive lies of mistreatment, a “story” is told and repeated to those “inside”. They are told, “this is what you say” and the lie is birthed. The lie is carried throughout generations as “this is what really happened” to cover up the truth.
There is a saying, “If you tell it enough times, people will believe it.” Ah, but God knows humans well. After His humiliating death on a cruel Roman cross, Jesus leaves the grave of defeat, rises from death in victory and appears to believers and doubters (even those doubters, like James, in His own family!).
Try to imagine being one the soldiers who knew it took many men to roll the stone in front of the entrance and then be ordered to seal it up to make sure Jesus body could not be removed? Can you imagine the soldiers fear at now seeing an angel just cast the heavy stone away? Can you imagine looking in to see that HE IS NOT THERE…in spite of all your efforts to keep Him there?
Can you imagine going to the tomb the next morning after a night of mourning the loss of your best Friend and Master Teacher? Then imagine seeing an angel, happily sitting on THE STONE rolled away from the grave to reveal the Good News to you. “Looking for Jesus, yeah, he’s not here anymore”. “HE IS ALIVE…JUST AS HE SAID”. Just as HE said. Jesus is Truth.
Jesus was the Word of God made flesh, living and following the will of the Father while fulfilling ALL that the prophets had been told to say from God to tell us of the Truth who would come to earth as baby born of a virgin. The Truth grew in stature and wisdom just as the prophets said. Truth spoke as One with authority because He was speaking God’s words and doing his explicit will. Truth taught disciples God’s Word of Truth with how to live Truth and tell the Truth. And just as the prophets said, Jesus would stand for us in the judgement hall of Pilate and take our sin upon His shoulders and pay our debt of sin on a cross. Just as He told his disciples, “I will rise again on the third day”. And He did. There is no proof that He did not.
Matthew 28, NLT
28 Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to visit the tomb.
2 Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it. 3 His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. 4 The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint.
5 Then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying. 7 And now, go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and he is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there. Remember what I have told you.”
8 The women ran quickly from the tomb. They were very frightened but also filled with great joy, and they rushed to give the disciples the angel’s message. 9 And as they went, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they ran to him, grasped his feet, and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t be afraid! Go tell my brothers to leave for Galilee, and they will see me there.”
The Report of the Guard
11 As the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and told the leading priests what had happened. 12 A meeting with the elders was called, and they decided to give the soldiers a large bribe. 13 They told the soldiers, “You must say, ‘Jesus’ disciples came during the night while we were sleeping, and they stole his body.’ 14 If the governor hears about it, we’ll stand up for you so you won’t get in trouble.” 15 So the guards accepted the bribe and said what they were told to say. Their story spread widely among the Jews, and they still tell it today.
THINK ABOUT IT
“…and they still tell it today.” But many Jews rejected the lie and followed Jesus as the Son of God who laid down His life for our sin and rose again…just as He said he would.
There are many in our world who still do not know the Truth, the Person of Jesus Christ. Tomorrow we talk about who will tell them.
Do we believe, really believe Jesus rose from death on the third day? Do we live like we know what we know?
GOING DEEPER IN OUR KNOWLEDGE AND FAITH…
We must never underestimate the importance of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The world believes that Jesus died, but the world does not believe that He arose from the dead. Peter’s message at Pentecost emphasized the resurrection. In fact, it is emphasized throughout the book of Acts. What is the significance of the resurrection? It proves that Jesus is God’s Son. Jesus stated that He had authority to lay down His life and to take it up again (John 10:17–18).
It verifies the truth of Scripture:
Both in the Old Testament and in the teaching of Jesus, His resurrection is clearly taught (see Ps. 16:10; 110:1). If Jesus had not come out of the tomb, then these Scriptures would not be true.
It assures our own future resurrection:
Because Jesus died and rose again, we shall one day be raised to be like Him (1 Thess. 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.
It is the proof of a future judgment:
“Because he has appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man who he has ordained; whereof he has given assurance unto all men, in that he has raised him from the dead” (Acts 17:31).
It is the basis for Christ’s heavenly priesthood:
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.
It gives power for Christian living:
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 (see Rom. 6:4).
It assures our future inheritance:
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 (see 1 Peter 1:3–5). 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.
So…what will we tell others? I pray…Truth.
Dear Lord and Savior,
We marvel at Your Story and wonder why many still do not believe. We wonder how the lie that was birthed at your resurrection still is told today. But we know without a doubt that You died and rose again for us…just as You said You would. That is enough for me. There is too much of You in me to believe otherwise. Thank you for saving my soul and making me whole. Thank you for your Holy Presence in our lives through Your Spirit living unrestrained in us. I love you, Lord with all my heart, mind and soul.
In Jesus Name, Amen