He is Risen!
Bible Reading: John 20
With respect to being a hospice chaplain I sometimes tell people it’s my job to talk to dying people. Yet that is true for us all because we are all dying. Some of us are just further along on that journey. Richard Baxter once said, “I preached as never sure to preach again, and as a dying man to dying men.”
Death exists in our world because of sin. Adam and Eve sinned, and death has been around ever since. No one can escape it–world leaders, wealthy folks, religious figures, and great teachers lie in graves and tombs around the world. It mattered not if they were men of great wealth, or wisdom or intellect or abilities—they were, each one, subject to and humbled by man’s ultimate fear and foe—death (Cf. Psalm 23:4; Hebrews 2:14-15). Death is an unavoidable reality, we need a hope which lies beyond the grave. We find this great hope in Jesus alone.
Jesus died. He was laid in a tomb. An “extremely large” stone was rolled against the entrance. The grave was made secure with a guard of sixteen Roman soldiers. A seal was set on the stone. Every effort was undertaken to keep Jesus dead in that tomb. But it was “impossible for Him to be held in its power” (Acts 2:24).
When the women arrived that Sunday Morning, they found the stone rolled away. They saw an angel who said, “Do not be amazed, you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who has been crucified. He has risen; He is not here; behold here is the place where they laid Him” (Mark 16:6). He rose from the dead and “presented Himself alive, after His suffering, by many convincing proofs” (Acts 1:3). “He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time…then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles…and last of all to (Paul)” (1 Corinthians 15:6-8).
Because the tomb is empty, there is such a thing as salvation (Romans 4:25). Because the tomb is empty, there is a newness of life only He can impart to us (Romans 6:4). Because the tomb is empty, there is the promise of a future resurrection for those who believe (1 Corinthians 15:20).
The gospel message—that Christ died for sins and rose from the dead–is a glorious message! The Apostles faithfully proclaimed that message first to the Jews, then to the Samaritans, then to the Gentiles. They were willing to suffer and die for it. Eleven of the twelve died a martyr’s death. They did so because they themselves had personally witnessed the resurrection!
The tomb is empty. Jesus is alive! He has ascended to the right hand of God. He is the risen, reigning, and returning Lord. Different religions have been espoused by leaders who have died and were buried, their bones having long ago rotted in their graves. But ours is no mere religion, we’ve been brought into an intimate relationship with the Risen Lord Jesus! This is no mere religion which possesses such a glorious Savior! It is no mere religion which glories in such a wondrous cross! It is no mere religion which has been well-founded on Christ’s triumph over sin, and death and the devil himself. It is no mere religion which worships a risen Savior who reigns over all at the right hand of the Father! It is in no mere religion that the Risen Savior Himself indwells and lives through all of those who have believed in Him! His sacrifice on the cross for you is the greatest act of love ever witnessed in the history of man! Likewise, His victory over sin and death and all the forces of evil is a universal triumph of infinite personal import to every believer. Because He won that battle, we too will “overwhelmingly conquer” through Him who loved us (Romans 8:37)!
Lord Jesus, how glorious this truth of Your resurrection from the dead! Death could not hold You! The devil could not defeat You! You burst forth the chains of death and trampled over the powers of darkness! In You, we possess a living hope borne from Your finished work on Calvary! You died for our sins and rose from the dead! How incredibly blessed we are in that good news! Because You are a living Savior, we’ve been set free from sin to walk in the newness of life we possess in You! Help us to walk that way, to Your honor and glory!
One day the grave could conceal Him no longer,
One day the stone rolled away from the door;
Then He arose, over death He had conquered,
Now is ascended, my Lord ever more!
Living He loved me, Dying He saved me,
Buried He carried my sins far away;
Rising He justified freely forever;
One Day He’s coming; ‘O glorious Day.