Resurrection Sunday

Resurrection Sunday

Jesus was in the way.   For more than three years that was the sentiment of the religious leaders in Israel.  They could not continue their absolute rule over Israel’s religion as long as Jesus was around. Finally, after such a rallying display of loyalty by the crowds gathered for Passover, the Pharisees, scribes, and other religious leaders had their solution. He was dead. Yes, that is right he was dead. They had trumped up charges of blasphemy and had called in every favor they could think of to get him a trial. Then using the emotional fervor of the crowds and incensing them to hysteria, the leaders pushed Jesus all the way to crucifixion. Now with the stone in front of the tomb where Jesus was placed and the guards there to watch it, the leaders could begin repairing their power structure.

From human eyes this is what happened. However, from the throne of heaven this was all decreed before the world was created. God was going to use the death of His own Son to pay the penalty for man’s sin so that man could be reconciled to God. The vast separation between man and God had stood for millennia. Sin will never be allowed in God’s heaven. How can sinners get to heaven? Man has to be cleansed from sin and a new life given to him before entering heaven. Man cannot earn such favor with God or do the work of cleansing himself. A gracious gift is all we can hope for. Saving man from sin’s penalty of death is God’s gracious act.  God says it is a gift according to Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

But how can a dead person affect any kind of help to mankind? In the minds of the religious leaders they knew that if Jesus’ body disappeared from the tomb, the whole point of His death would be pointless. They knew about the predictions that Jesus had made about rising from the dead. Listen to the fear in their voices as they arranged to secure the tomb after His crucifixion. Matthew 27:62-65 “Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, 63 Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. 64 Command, therefore, that the sepulcher be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead; so the last error shall be worse than the first. 65 Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch; go your way, make it as sure as ye can.”

Everything around the actions of the religious rulers communicated that they had a sense He would indeed rise from the dead. So far whatever Jesus had said and had done made such a lasting impact they just had to stop Him – even after He was dead. But it was to no avail. Jesus rose from the dead on the third day just as He had said.

What a victory, not over the religious rulers but over death, the penalty for sin!   Romans 5:12, 17-19 tells us what this victory means. 12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for all have sinned. 17 For if by one man’s offense death reigned by one, much more they who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) 18 Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation, even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.”

Notice again the idea of a free gift that is offered to mankind. That gift is salvation from the penalty of sin. The scriptures tell us that the penalty is death but a gift of full payment has been offered to save us from the penalty of death and to grant us eternal life in heaven with God rather than an eternity of suffering in Hell. Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Ok so you are not a religious ruler, what do you make of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus?

As we look further at the resurrection of Jesus an interesting statement is made in John 20:9 about the disciples who were closest to Jesus. For a broader look at the events leading to this comment listen to what John recorded about the resurrection morning. John 20:1-8 “The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulcher, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulcher. Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulcher, and we know not where they have laid him. Peter, therefore, went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulcher. So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulcher. And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in. Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulcher, and seeth the linen clothes lie, And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulcher, and he saw, and believed.”

In these verses the interested parties of women followers and disciples are coming to the tomb to add spices and to take care of the body. Luke’s gospel verifies this in 24:1. They were expecting the body of Jesus to be there. Now they all find Him missing. The impact is seen in John 20:8 then verified further in verse 9. Then went in also that other disciple, who came first to the sepulcher, and he saw, and believed. For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.” The impact is ownership. The things Jesus had said came to pass. He told them He would rise again. Now seeing the empty tomb and grave clothes, they believed and took personal ownership of the truth of the sayings of Jesus, referred to here as scriptures, and the sayings of the prophets such as Psalm 16:10 “ For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.”

The ownership of Jesus’s claims was an act of faith. They had not yet seen Jesus walking the earth, but they believed He was risen from the dead. The same way that they believed we are to believe as well. Yes Jesus did meet with these folks after He rose from the dead and hundreds of others. But they believed before He did and took ownership of the claims of the scriptures. How about you do you believe what the scriptures say? We have looked at the free gift God offers to pay for our sin penalty. Without that gift we are condemned to hell. No person or group of persons can reverse that condemned status. Only God can change our status and that is through His gracious gift of His own Son.

Jesus died on the cross to pay our penalty. He rose from the dead to prove God’s power over death. One could say that to defeat death, the penalty for sin, Jesus had to not stay dead. That is exactly what happened. What the Bible tells us about Jesus, sin, man, and the salvation God offers needs to be owned by everyone of us. John 20:31 concludes the resurrection day events with these words.           John 20:31 “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.”

How do you believe and take ownership of what the scriptures say about Jesus? Romans 10:9-10 tells us in plain language. Romans 10:9-10 “That 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. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

There you have the words to the prayer you can say to God. We confess that we are sinners and turn away from self and sin and turn to God’s offer of the gift of Jesus. We simply accept as true what the Bible says. Jesus died and rose again to defeat sin and sin’s penalty. Believe and own this truth today. Pray and tell God you are a sinner and that you now accept the free gift of salvation from sin’s penalty. Tell God you are turning to Him and turning away from sin. Tell God you want to be saved from death and Hell as described in the Bible. God will do as He says. He will save you and from this day forward you will be saved from sin’s penalty.

Resurrection Sunday is the perfect day to believe and own the truth of God’s Word.

If you have decided to receive the free gift of salvation we would love to rejoice with you and offer help in anyway that we can. Please click the buttons provided to leave us a message.