He is Risen!

Here is Dr. Richard Ganz telling us the truth from the scriptures: http://richardganz.com/the-certainty-of-the-resurrection-of-jesus-christ-from-the-dead/

There is no doubt that the resurrection of Jesus from the dead is, along with the cross, the cornerstone of the Christian faith. In fact, the resurrection is mentioned 42 times in the New Testament, and Jesus’ own words are clear. For example, we read in Matthew 16:21 that “Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, suffer many things by the elders and chief priests and scribes and be killed and raised again the third day.” And in Matthew 17:9 when He was coming down from the mount of transfiguration, Jesus said, “Don’t tell anyone about what you have seen until I have been raised from the dead.”

This was a repeated message of Jesus to His people: “I will be raised from the dead on the third day.” And while the disciples dismissed it and forgot it, Jesus’ enemies never did. In fact, one of the first things that they did after the crucifixion was to give an order to have the tomb made secure and closely guarded. Why? Because, they said in Matthew 27:63: “When this liar was alive, He said He would rise again.” No, Jesus’ enemies didn’t forget. Jesus was dead, but they knew what Jesus had said, and they didn’t want Him rising from the dead, nor did they want anyone stealing His body so that it might be made to appear that had Jesus risen from the dead; and so they took serious measures to prevent both of these things from happening.

But, as seriously as Jesus’ enemies took Him, there isn’t even a hint that this was what Jesus’ own disciples expected or even thought. They weren’t looking out for Jesus’ resurrection, and they certainly weren’t considering stealing his body and trying to stage a resurrection. They were in fear and despair over Jesus’ death. They thought it was all over, and they were in fear of repercussions of Jesus’ death falling on them because of their past association with Jesus. They were like that atheist who concluded: “If someone is dead, he is dead, and nothing can bring him back to life, no matter how appealing the idea may be.” We read that several of Jesus’ closest disciples, including Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of Joses, Salome, other of the women, Joseph of Arimathea, and Nicodemus, all went to the tomb; but there isn’t even a hint that their discussion included any idea that Jesus would EVER be anything other than absolutely, positively, and unalterably, DEAD!

The world did its best to make the death of Jesus sure, which I find amazing. They were so threatened by the death of Jesus, that even during the few days of His actually being in a burial tomb, all that they really wanted to do was to make sure that the ONE THING THAT JESUS WOULDN’T DO was to fulfill His word and rise from the dead! So they have the world’s best army secure His tomb, sealing the tomb with a huge stone that closed it securely, and then setting a Roman guard to vigilantly watch that tomb round the clock. The WORLD’S MOST RELIGOUS MEN, the religious leaders of Israel, have an absolutely atheistic mindset as well. They don’t believe Jesus’ words, they don’t believe that Jesus will rise, but also they don’t relax just because Jesus is dead. They take no chances. Theirs is not the mind that says, “Since Jesus is dead, now we have nothing to be concerned about.” Instead, they secure the tomb and have Roman guards put there to keep away any who would snatch the dead body of Jesus. These Jewish leaders knew that Jesus had predicted His own resurrection on the third day. They were confident His body would not be able to be stolen; and they were comfortable that Roman soldiers could prevent any possible resurrection from happening, and that is why when Jesus, in one of His confrontations with the religious leaders, rebuked these leaders in this way: “You know not the Scriptures or the power of God.”

So, even with the Scriptures and Jesus Himself predicting it, no one was looking for Jesus’ resurrection. And then, three days later, on the first day of the week, that is, on Sunday, while it was still dark, we read that these brave women went to the tomb; but they went to anoint the body of Jesus, not to meet the risen Jesus. But Jesus no longer needed anointing, and there was no power on earth that was then, or would EVER be capable of keeping Jesus locked into that tomb and dead in the grave.

The fears of the Jewish leaders that the disciples would steal His body and perpetrate a wicked deception was groundless, because the power of God had been at work, a power greater than any they had ever considered, or even imagine; a power which no man can stand against. And when the women get to the tomb, they see that the fierce Roman guards, trained to stand against anything, have fled in terror and that the tomb is empty. John’s account focuses in on Mary Magdalene and says that she ran back and got Peter and John as soon as she saw that the stone had been removed, and after they got to the tomb, they still didn’t get it. We read that: “They STILL did not understand from the Scriptures that Jesus had to rise from the dead.”

So what did they do? They then returned to their homes, but Mary stayed, weeping as she looked into an empty tomb, but still not understanding. And then she had a discussion with someone she assumed to be the gardener, who asks her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who are you looking for?” She responds, “If you carried Him away, tell me where you have put Him.” We read that Jesus said to her, “Mary”, and hearing His voice, she recognizes that it is Jesus, risen and alive, who is in front of her speaking to her, and she calls Him “Rabbi”. Jesus then told her to tell the brethren that He had risen. Mary was presented with the most incredible commission EVER GIVEN to anyone, in the entire history of the New Covenant church from then until now, because Mary was commissioned to tell the disciples of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead and of His soon-to-be ascension and return to the Father.

Friends, Jesus’ disciples weren’t looking for His resurrection. The reality of the resurrection of Jesus was only accepted after each person had evidenced it for Himself. They had to see it with their own eyes before they believed. This was not some plot of the early church to make the Christian faith palatable. In fact, there is no way that they could have convinced anyone else of it, for they couldn’t even convince themselves, and they knew it well. In order to continue to follow Jesus, and even give their lives for Jesus, they needed to actually see that Jesus was indeed raised from the dead, and that although He was dead, now He is alive.

Our Lord Jesus went to the cross to fight death, and was battered by hell and by the wrath of God, but He came out of the tomb, and He emerged in glory as the conqueror. And now we, we who have been slaves to sin and have feared death and hell, can cry out: “O grave, where is your victory? O grave, where is your sting?” And Jesus told us in John 14:19: “Because I live, you also shall live.” This, friends, is the victory of Christ’s resurrection. His resurrection guarantees our resurrection in Him!

Author: Alex the Less

B.A. (1976), M.Div. (1983), Journeyman Carpenter (1991), B.B.A. (2009)

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