Jesus Is Alive
(Mark 16.1-8; Luke 24.1-12; John 20.1-10)
1The Sabbath was over, and it was almost daybreak on Sunday when Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 2Suddenly a strong earthquake struck, and the Lord's angel came down from heaven. He rolled away the stone and sat on it. 3The angel looked as bright as lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4The guards shook from fear and fell down, as though they were dead.
5The angel said to the women, “Don't be afraid! I know you are looking for Jesus, who was nailed to a cross. 6He isn't here! God has raised him to life, just as Jesus said he would. Come, see the place where his body was lying. 7Now hurry! Tell his disciples he has been raised to life and is on his way to Galilee. Go there, and you will see him. This is what I came to tell you.”
8The women were frightened and yet very happy, as they hurried from the tomb and ran to tell his disciples. 9Suddenly Jesus met them and greeted them. They went near him, held on to his feet, and worshiped him. 10Then Jesus said, “Don't be afraid! Tell my followers to go to Galilee. They will see me there.”
Report of the Guard
11While the women were on their way, some soldiers who had been guarding the tomb went into the city. They told the chief priests everything that had happened. 12So the chief priests met with the leaders and decided to bribe the soldiers with a lot of money. 13They said to the soldiers, “Tell everyone that Jesus' disciples came during the night and stole his body while you were asleep. 14If the governor hears about this, we will talk to him. You won't have anything to worry about.” 15The soldiers took the money and did what they were told. The people of Judea still tell each other this story.
What Jesus' Followers
(Mark 16.14-18; Luke 24.36-49; John 20.19-23; Acts 1.6-8)
16 Jesus' eleven disciples went to a mountain in Galilee, where Jesus had told them to meet him. 17They saw him and worshiped him, but some of them doubted.
18Jesus came to them and said:
I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth! 19 Go to the people of all nations and make them my disciples. Baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, 20and teach them to do everything I have told you. I will be with you always, even until the end of the world.
After Jesus’ death and burial, when he rose from the dead on the first day of the week, everything changed. It was the turning point in human history and a strategic event in the revelation of God’s salvation.
All four gospels make clear that Jesus rose from the dead. It was something that happened in space and time and should never be regarded as mythical (Matthew 28:1-20; Mark16:1-8; Luke 24:1-53; John 20:1-21:25). While it is true that God the Father raised Jesus from the dead, it is equally true that Jesus was involved in his own resurrection (John 10:17-18). Unlike others in the Bible who returned to life after dying (e.g. Lazarus), Jesus rose never to die again. This is one reason why he is described as the firstborn from among the dead (Colossians1:18). His return to life was unique and has implications for all who believe in him.
The New Testament letters also tell us that his resurrection power is at work in our lives as believers in different ways. He has made us spiritually alive (1 Peter 1:3), he has given us spiritual power to live for God in the world (Ephesians 1:19-20), and his resurrection guarantees our share in the final resurrection at the end of the age and in the new heavens and earth including all the blessings of the world to come (1 Corinthians15:12-58).
The resurrection of Jesus is also intensity practical. It gives significance to our lives because death is not the final word (1 Corinthians 15:58). It helps us to focus on what is most important and not what is merely temporal (Colossians 3:1-4). The hope the resurrection inspires is a powerful incentive to pursue holiness and to live for the glory of our King whose love and reign we will enjoy forever (1 John 3:1-3). He has risen indeed!
Heavenly Father: This Easter Sunday we thank you that you have defeated death in the death and resurrection of your Son. Help us to live in the power of this new life that comes to us by your grace through faith. Fill us with hope and joy in Jesus. Amen.