Earlier this month, we celebrated the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The resurrection story is captured in three words.
Christianity rises or falls on the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
If Jesus Christ did not rise from the dead, our faith is a colossal hoax. Our songs and our sermons are delusional. Our cathedrals of worship are monuments to a corpse.
But today, we have the confidence that Jesus is who He claimed to be - the perfect and final sacrifice. He is The Way, The Truth, and The Life.
The best news the world has ever heard came out of a cemetery.
“HE IS RISEN!”
Luke 22 tells the resurrection story. Jesus was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, outside the eastern walls of Jerusalem. Jesus cried out in agony, Father if it is Your will, just take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done (Luke 22:42).”
What were His disciples doing during this most crucial hour? They were sleeping.
Suddenly, through the olive trees, the flaming torches of 500 Roman soldiers can be seen pouring into the Garden, shouting that they are looking for Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus answers them, saying, “I am He.” He chose, in this moment, to lay His life down. The Bible tells us that no man could take His life, so He chose to lay it down (John 10:18). This was the greatest act of unconditional love in history.
Much like the disciples, many believers are sleeping through one of history’s most crucial hours. America is in a moral, spiritual and political crisis. Instead of pointing people to Christ, many churches are more focused on a “feel good” form of Christianity.
If we are looking for resurrection power to saturate our churches, our homes, our country...we must focus on the resurrected Christ.
Rome could not convict Him! The Cross did not conquer Him! The grave could not contain Him! Satan could not defeat Him!
Jesus was, is, and always shall be the King of kings and Lord of lords! And of His Kingdom, there shall be no end.
Jesus is the portrait of absolute power. He was and still is to this day, the Mighty Conqueror.
Jesus was taken to Pilate, who found no fault in Him. By Roman law, the trial should have ended right there. But the Pharisees were not after justice. They wanted to end His life.
He was then taken to Herod, whose men of war slapped Him, spit on Him, and placed a crown of thorns upon His head. They mocked Him, saying, “Hail Jesus, King of the Jews!”
Jesus was then sent back to Pilate a second time, where He was beaten with a Roman cat of nine tails, given the maximum punishment under law...39 stripes. In the theater of your mind, you can hear the whip whirring through the air as Jesus’ flesh is ripped from His body. Crimson streams of blood flowed down His back as the crowds stood silent and looked on.
Jesus was sentenced to death by crucifixion, as the Cross was placed upon His bleeding back. He dragged this wooden Cross through the cobblestone streets of Jerusalem to a place called Calvary. There the Son of God was nailed to the Cross, taking upon Himself our sin so that we might be redeemed.
At 3:00 p.m. on Friday afternoon, He cried out, “IT IS FINISHED!”
What was finished? Death, hell, and the grave was finished. The power of sin to destroy you eternally was finished. Satan’s power to control you was finished.
Because of this selfless sacrifice, because He chose to willingly lay His life down...we have the promise of Eternity. The Scripture also says that “by His stripes, we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).
That healing power is alive and well today!
Before sundown, Jesus’ followers took His blood-soaked body down off the Cross. They wrapped it in burial clothes, covering Him with 100 pounds of spices. They laid Him in the borrowed tomb of Joseph of Arimathea.
Demons rejoiced. Politicians gloated. The disciples scattered in terror, with the memory of their Master laying in a borrowed tomb. Mary, the mother of Jesus, wept. Roman guards swaggered. Satan laughed. It was a dark day for mankind.
Then came the morning of the third day.
On the third day, angels swooped from the balconies of heaven to roll the stone away. A blinding flash of light. A massive earthquake. The stone was rolled away as the Roman guards fell to the ground, trembling.
On the third day, out of the darkness of a borrowed tomb walked Jesus Christ, the light of the world.
On the third day, His resurrection gave us mercy with God, complete forgiveness of sin, and total redemption. Chains were broken. Captives were set free. An eternity was gained.
The power of the resurrection is endless and all-consuming. It gives us a new beginning, one we could have never qualified for on our own. The resurrection brings us comfort for today, hope for tomorrow, and peace that surpasses all understanding. In one single moment, The Lamb of God became the Lion of Judah!
The power of the resurrection is indisputable. Every claim Jesus made is true. There is healing for all who believe. There is restoration and provision for all who believe. There is joy and hope for all who believe. And there is eternal life to ALL who believe. Are you a believer today? Have you put your full hope and trust in Jesus, our risen Lord? In these uncertain times, put your confidence in our God, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Be confident in this...one day, every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord to the glory of God the Father! “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you (John 14:1-2).”
Get ready, Church! The resurrection set the stage for Jesus’ return. Share the Good News that Jesus saves, and let’s have a sense of divine expectancy for that day when He shall come to call His people home.
There is nothing left in Bible prophecy that needs to happen for Jesus to return. Look up! Pack up! Pray up! Soon, we will be going up...in the twinkling of an eye!
CELEBRATING OUR RISEN LORD