He has risen! He has risen indeed! Much could be written about the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, much more than I could possibly share in one Easter writing. Jesus died for our sins and was resurrected for our salvation (Rom 4:25). I do not believe it overly simplistic to say that the fundamental mission of Christ’s time on earth was the salvation of all who will receive Him as Savior and Lord (Lk 19:10, Jn 1:12).
Christ’s coming, and offering of salvation has changed lives and the world as a whole. Since the time of Christ, His church has influenced practically every sphere of human life and culture, from the establishment of hospitals to universities to caring for the neediest among us. When Christians have lived guided by Christ’s Spirit and His Word, the positive impact is unquestionable.
Jesus taught His followers to pray, “God’s kingdom come, His will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt 6:10). This prayer is not merely an expectant yearning for the coming of Christ in the future but also a desire to see God’s kingdom broaden and become increasingly established throughout the world in the here and now. Christ’s coming ignited a movement that transforms His followers, unleashing them as change agents in our culture.
Jesus was crucified on Friday; Saturday was a Sabbath; He rose on Sunday morning. One account of Christ’s resurrection is found in Mathew’s Gospel. In the twenty-eighth chapter, we read that Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, these disciples of His, visit the tomb. There is an earthquake that either occurred simultaneously with the angel’s appearance or the means the angel used to roll away the stone. The guards at the tomb, who are probably battle-hardened soldiers, obviously have never seen anything like this before and are fearful. The angel encourages the ladies not to fear.
The angel made sure that Mary Magdalene and other Mary understood the meaning of the empty tomb. The angel gave them three messages: (1) Jesus has risen. (2) He was going to Galilee. And (3) they would see Him. It’s noteworthy that Jesus Himself gave them those same messages, recorded for us in verse 10.
The women leave the scene celebrating with reverent awe because Christ is risen! Then, Jesus met them personally outside the tomb, near Jerusalem. They worship Christ and “took hold of His feet.” Why did Matthew want us to know they touched Christ’s feet? The fact that they touched Jesus’ feet shows that this is no mere vision or hallucination but a physical resurrection. It’s important to recognize that Jesus accepts their worship. His acceptance of their worship acknowledges His deity, as only God is to be worshiped. This is indeed an extraordinary account.
The resurrection is the foundation of Christian faith and the continuing movement Christ ignited in His followers. Why is the resurrection our foundation? Because Jesus, as He promised, rose from the dead. Therefore, each of us can be confident that He will accomplish all He has promised.
Because Jesus’ bodily resurrection shows that the living Christ is ruler of God’s eternal kingdom, not a false prophet or imposter. The significance of the resurrection is intertwined with the significance of the person who was raised. The resurrection is proof positive that the Lord Jesus is the Son of God, as He declared.
Because we can be certain of our resurrection due to Christ’s resurrection. Death is not the end – there is future life. As Jesus rose, we, too, will be ushered into paradise experience eternal life.
Because the power that brought Jesus back to life is available to us to bring our spiritually dead self back to life. The fact that Jesus is alive today means He is able to save us today. This also means that Christ will help His people by the Spirit, strengthening them, convicting them, guiding them into the life that God desires.
Lastly, because the resurrection is the basis for the church’s witness to the world. The resurrection of Jesus Christ brought a radical change in the life of His followers. From the radical transformation of Christ’s followers, the early church was birthed. The birth of the church came into existence as a result of a belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The resurrection is not just a matter of fact, which can be taken lightly. It is literally a matter of eternal life or death. The resurrection is not simply a fact to be believed and rejected. It is a fact to which our response will determine our eternal destiny. The resurrection of our Lord was a kind of watershed event in the history of humanity. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the foundation of the Christian faith and the continuing movement Christ ignited in His followers. How will you respond to the finished work of Christ on the cross and life-giving resurrection? Soli Deo Gloria (Glory to God Alone)!