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?