Declaring the Dead Alive! What’s the Big Deal?

(Pastor Joey Rountree) Lighthouse Notes 09 25 2011

Matthew 28: 10 – 15

Of the many things we believers often take for granted, ponder seriously for a moment how the resurrection of Jesus Christ is impacting your life… right now. Is it impacting your life? If not, why?

From the twenty-eighth chapter of Matthew’s account of the gospel, just as the other three gospel accounts, each author gives a very descriptive and detailed account of Jesus’ rising from the dead.   They do so because the resurrection is centrally  important to Christianity. If there is no resurrection, our faith is in vain (1 Cor. 15). Ah, but if Christ is risen…

The scene opens with two parties of people going to share the news of an empty grave. One group is ecstatic and is made up of women who are rushing to Jesus’ disciples to proclaim, “He’s alive! (10)” The others are seeking the chief priests to break some very bad news, this man they were guarding the body of is gone.

The religious leaders are in a frenzy. This news must not be broadcast, so they concoct a plan to account for the missing body. Their answer to the dilemma… pay the guards off… lie about what happened.

But the evidence is overwhelming. And the eyewitnesses become many. And it is a big deal! How big of a deal was it to the writers of the Bible? Consider this… Acts 2:23; 3:15; 4:10; 4:33; 5:30; 10:40, 41; 13:30; 13:33; 13:37; 17:30; Romans 4:24; 6:4; 8:11; 10:9; 14:7; 1 Corinthians 6:4; entire 15th chapter; 2 Corinthians 4:14… (please tell me you’re getting the point without my copying the verses from the rest of the New Testament, not to mention the prophecies from the OT).

But, from the very day of the resurrection until the present, men have created stories in an attempt to explain away the Christian’s proclamation, “He’s Alive!” From the swoon theory, to a wrong tomb, to the theft of the body, anything to make it a fallacy. But do these arguments have any merit? Look at a brief and condensed list of considerations…

First, Roman soldiers carried out the crucifixion, and there was no way these men, who could have cared less about the life of a condemned criminal, would mistake death for swooning. Their job description included ensuring the criminal was dead when taken from the cross.

Remember the brutal beating Jesus took before His crucifixion? Tack that on to the hours on the cross and think about the physical condition of his ‘drained of blood’ body, and explain how He awoke from His swoon, rolled the massive rock away, took out the armed Roman guards, and escaped.

The thought of these women going to the wrong tomb is ridiculous. The Bible describes them as present wherever the body was carried. They only left to bring the needed spices to embalm the body. Also, it was new tomb, remember Joseph from Arimathea? There were not many of these ‘new tombs’ available. Jesus was alone in the tomb… it was new. Wouldn’t the women have known they were at the wrong tomb when they saw other dead bodies there. But even if the women were confused, wouldn’t they have just asked Joseph for help?

And as for the disciples stealing the body, why? Read through the accounts of the gospel again, these men were defeated and had no expectation of a resurrection. They were hiding in fear of being recognized as a disciple of this Man who was crucified. And what would have been their motivation? Would they risk their very lives for a lie?

Instead, these disciples are one of the many evidences of the veracity of the resurrection. Picture Peter… one minute declaring, “I do not know the man!,” and then we hear from the same mouth (without fear), “This Man whom you crucified… God has raised Him from the dead!”

As Paul teaches (1 Cor. 15), if the resurrection is not true, then we’re wasting our time as Christians. We would better spend our time eating, drinking, and being merry… for tomorrow we perish. As a matter of fact, he concludes that if this all-important event is a lie, then we are to be pitied above all.  He warns if Jesus did not rise, then our faith is futile, and we are still in our sins.

But praise God, Paul insists our Lord is alive and he says, “But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” (Did you catch that? Because Jesus lives, we can rest assured that we will also, and not just us, but all our loved ones who have gone on before us!)

But it also declares victory for the present. Unlike the religions of the world, in our darkest hour, we have a risen Savior to cry out to.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is God’s stamp of approval that His sacrifice was sufficient for the sins of the world. The victory over sin and death has been declared! Paul would quote, “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory? (1 Cor. 15:55)

So, is the resurrection of Jesus Christ impacting my life right now? Does my life reflect a man surrendered to a system of religious beliefs, or am I joyfully walking with the Living Savior?

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About mtsweat

Seeking the rest that is only promised and found in Christ Jesus, along with my treasured wife of more than twenty-five years, we seek to grow in our relationship with our Heavenly Father, walk with the Holy Spirit as He moves our hearts, loving others always as Jesus loves us, and carry the news of His glory, the wonderful gospel, that gives light and life where there once was only darkness.
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17 Responses to Declaring the Dead Alive! What’s the Big Deal?

  1. freedomborn says:

    Hands Of Love
    His hands reached out in infinitive embrace drawing mankind from every race,
    His love He gave without restraint not counting the cost
    given to save the dying and lost.

    The rusty nails left their mark tearing away His very heart,
    Yet the greatest pain He did bear was knowing with the Father he could not share,
    For sin had barred the Heavenly gate leaving
    an emptiness in its wake,

    Through His agony and despair His Love for us was
    constantly there,
    Calling the Father to set us free so we would
    Lovingly come and bow our knees.

    What was lost was regained a Child was given then reclaimed,
    Death could not hold Him down for the King of Life
    wears a Golden crown.

    The Truth of the cross is plain to see mankind given liberty,
    Christ’s blood shed to cover and wash away our sin,
    The Holy Spirit placed within,
    Eternity proclaimed through His Name and we no longer
    bear the shame.
    The Saviour’s hands stretched out for us because the Father knew
    We would accept the gift of life through His Son
    who paid the price.

    Penned by Annie
     

  2. freedomborn says:

    Hi Mike, as I was pondering on my response to your powerful message and the posts which were so insightful and uplifting, I gave thanks once again because it is indeed True that the Holy Spirit imparts His wisdom so we know the things of God and where once we were in darkness we now we see the Light – 1 Corinthians 2:9-13

    I hope you don’t mind Mike but on the next post I would appreciate very much to share a poem I felt lead to write about the Crucifixion some years ago, it sums up a lot of what you and the others have shared but not all. At the time I wrote it like some of my other poetry there was a mystery, I couldn’t understand what the rusty nails meant, I thought it must have been because of being exposed to the elements but God showed me some time later what they really signified at least for me and it was then I repented and Trusted in God’s provision, we cannot Love both God and Money, since then and even before I have never had enough money, but I have never needed any more.

    Matthew 6:19 -21 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

    Thanking you again Mike …how very unique you are, indeed a rich blessing – Christian Love Anne

  3. lambskinny says:

    Praise God, M.T. Thanks so much, Carley

  4. While the cross is the recognised symbol of Christianity, the empty tomb is the one which sets it apart from all other belief systems. The resurrection is God’s seal of acceptance of the sacrifice. We serve a living Saviour.

    “Because He lives, we live also”
    “We also should walk in newness of life”
    The Scripture is very clear that IF we died with Christ, we are raised to a NEW life – a Christlike life. If we don’t, we deny Christ.

  5. TikkTok says:

    What’s also really cool is that he can’t die again. Not only is he alive, but he cannot die again….. “For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him.” (Romans 6:9)

    And because of all this, Christianity is set apart. It’s the *only* religion (not that I need to say this here :lol:) that is not based on legacy, but instead upon promise.

    Hallelujah!

  6. Clark Bunch says:

    Other people had “came back to life” but none had been resurrected. What do I mean? Lazarus and others were dead when Jesus restored their life, but they still had a mortal body; at some time each died again. Jesus appeared in his resurrected form, and lives forevermore.

    I’ve always marveled at the other miracle of the cross. Jesus gave up equality with God when he came to earth in the form of a servant. Philippians 2 describes him as a servant obedient to death, even death on a cross. Other people had been brought back to life; someday many will be resurrected. The crucifixion of Jesus was the only time that God died. It was a first. No one took his life, but he gave it freely. He prayed for the people killing him: “Father forgive them, they know not what they do.” Even as they mocked him by saying “He saved others; he cannot save himself.” He DID NOT save himself in order to save us.

  7. To whom also he shewed himself ALIVE after his passion by many infallible proofs, being SEEN of them FORTY DAYS, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God – Acts 1:3

  8. And when he had spoken these things, WHILE THEY BEHELD, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of THEIR SIGHT. Acts 1:9

  9. LeRoy Dean says:

    “We have a risen Savior!” Great post!

  10. AMEN! At the Incarnation, God became flesh. He left His “comfort zone” to walk, live in the mire of humanity. He was tempted in every way mortal man is tempted. He did not yield. Therefore, He was the perfect Lamb for sacrifice. The story could have ended there. Thank God it didn’t!

    Without the resurrection, without a Living Jesus, the Sadducees would have been right… “when you’re dead, you’re dead.” No salvation, no heaven, no eternal life… no purpose.

    GREAT sermon!

    Shalom, Art
    Alive in The Word

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