Resurrection Witnesses

August 10, 2016 at 12:51 pm | Posted in Matthew | 3 Comments
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In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.

Matthew 28:1

We might ask why were only the women performing this thankless and grief-laden task of caring for the post-Crucifixion body of Jesus. Where were the men? Were they hiding and scared while the women were doing the hard work? We might also ask what these women thought they were going to do about the stone that sealed the entrance to the sepulchre (Mark 16:3). They were carrying perfume and spices to care for a body they weren’t going to be able to access. Perhaps their love and their grief overcame their common sense.

And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.

Matthew 28:2

There is a certain humor in the thought of the angel sitting atop the very stone that had been intended to keep the followers of Jesus from getting into the tomb. However, during the night before, there had been nothing humorous to the guards about his appearance.

His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.

Matthew 28:3-4

This was a very holy and frightening angel. Roman soldiers weren’t easily frightened by mere men.

And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

Matthew 28:5-6

“As He said” was a gentle, though perhaps chiding, rebuke, referring to one of His least palatable prophecies:

From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.

Matthew 16:21

And while they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto them, The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men: And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry.

Matthew 17:22-23

And Jesus going up to Jerusalem took the twelve disciples apart in the way, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death, And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again.

Matthew 20:17-19

 

But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee.

Matthew 26:32

The testimony of Jesus Himself, the testimony of the angel, and the empty tomb all bore witness to Jesus’s Resurrection.

 

And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.

Matthew 28:7

Note how the angel used the words “from the dead,” reinforcing the truth that Jesus had actually died.

 

And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.

Matthew 28:8

It is a difficult combination to explain, but it is true that fear and joy can go together. God created them both, and there is great joy in having a fear of the Lord. Some of the greatest blessings you will ever experience are when you are facing, and overcoming, a terrifying challenge. The women who saw the empty tomb and heard the words of the angel were afraid, and they ran, but it was not an occasion of “fight or flight.” It was an occasion of “fright and flight.” They ran to bring “word,” and we need to always be running to bring the Word.

And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.

Matthew 28:9

Whenever you are running to do something in obedience to Him, no matter how fast you run, He is already there before you. The struggle to exercise patience, and to overcome procrastination, is a battle that almost every Christian fights. Impatience is unbelief when you don’t know God’s will, but procrastination is unbelief when you DO know God’s will.

The Disciples grabbed Jesus’s feet – His physical resurrected body – demonstrating His humanity. They also worshiped Him, demonstrating His Deity.

Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me. Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and shewed unto the chief priests all the things that were done. And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers,

Matthew 28:10-12

The soldiers went to the Jewish leaders first. They could have been killed by their Roman authorities for for allowing the body to be stolen. The Jewish leaders bribed them, but they also promised to protect them.

Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept. And if this come to the governor’s ears, we will persuade him, and secure you.

Matthew 28:13-14

Beware of Satan’s techniques. First he plays on your fears. Then he sends someone to help you make up a lie. Then he sweetens the deal with money. Then he gives you a false security and makes you think God will not mind your sin all that much.

So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.

Matthew 28:15

Each lie that denies the Resurrection has had its day, and come and gone: the swooning lie, the imposter on the Cross lie, the hallucination lie, the conspiracy lie. None are convincing. Only those who hate the Truth can voluntarily blind themselves to it. The Bible bears witness, 500 witnesses saw Him, the martyrdom of the Disciples bears witness, the empty tomb still bears witness, the Church meeting today still bears witness. If they could have produced a body, all of history would be different. Christianity wouldn’t exist. His Spirit bears witness with our spirits. There is more credible evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus than there is for the for the existence of Plato.

Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

Matthew 28:16-18

Catechism Question 18

February 26, 2015 at 1:05 pm | Posted in Children's Bible Catechism, Resurrection | 9 Comments
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Question 17: How did Jesus die?
Answer: He was crucified.
Prove it.

John 19:18

Question 18: What happened to Jesus after He died?
Answer: He was buried and then rose again on the third day.
Prove it.

Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly;

Acts 10:40

A child who is familiar with CPR or some kind of medical resuscitation, or who perhaps has heard of someone in a coma making a recovery, may question the validity of Jesus’s death. In other words, “Did He really die?”

This is easily resolved from the Scriptures. Chapters 5-8 of the Book of Romans, as well as Chapter 14, stress the reality of Christ’s death emphatically.

Furthermore, the Gospel accounts tell us plainly that Jesus willingly laid down his life and truly died.

A child might also ask, “How did He come back to life?” The simplest answer to this is that God the Father raised up Christ (God the Son) by His power, but this is probably a good place to explain that Jesus died only as touching His humanity. He did not die as touching His Deity, for this would be an impossibility, because God has the immutable power of self-existence, and is eternal.

Other verses to consider:

And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

I Corinthians 15:4

Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.

Romans 6:9

The Stones of Confirmation

February 1, 2013 at 11:01 am | Posted in Luke, Resurrection, The Stones that Don't Cry Out | 1 Comment
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It was the first day of the week, and a group of Jesus’s followers came to the tomb where He had been buried. Before Jesus’s death, He had predicted His own resurrection, but these followers weren’t going to see if Jesus had been resurrected.

Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.

Luke 24:1

Who were these visitors to the tomb of Jesus?

It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles.

Luke 24:10

They were all women, and it is almost as if this has turned out to be a prophecy of the modern church. Caring for Jesus’s body would have been a labor of love, but a very sad labor. There would be no steak dinner, no football game on a big-screen television, no exciting rock-concert-style music, no fiery emotional preaching, no motorcycle rally, no “boys’ night out” with a bunch of macho symbolism in the church fellowship hall. In other words, none of the things that are supposed to manipulate men into showing up for some of the mundane ministry tasks in the church, which usually wind up being done by women today. These women were going to be caring for the body of Christ and grieving – no fanfare, no accolades, no recognition. If you are reading this, and you are a man who belongs to a local church, are you guilty of being of being “all show and no substance?” Are you there for the “big men’s events” but not at the smaller Bible studies, the visitation times, the prayer meetings, the cleaning days? You might fool the congregation by showing up at the more “visible” events, but you are not fooling the Lord.

The women who undertook the task of visiting Jesus’s tomb to care for His body were rewarded when their grieving was turned to joy.

And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre.

Luke 24:2

An earthquake and the power of God had rolled the stone away, but the stone itself did not cry out. It was God’s plan that people would deliver the good news about the risen Christ.

And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest.

Luke 24:9

The stone that rolled away from the entrance to the tomb – although silent – still spoke very loudly. It was a stone that confirmed the truth of the Resurrection. It had been sealed at the entrance, so that only Roman soldiers could have broken the seal – and they never would have done so. The rolled-away stone is still silent today. It’s up to us to cry out the Good News.


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