Jesus finished the work that the Father had given Him to do in this world: all of the work. That which He started He finished. Unlike the rest of us, He came into the world, He did what He was supposed to have done, He said what He was supposed to have said and nothing else, He won every spiritual battle against the evil one, and He died for the sins of the world. Because of the sufferings of Jesus on the cross, our salvation is secured and the final judgment of the devil is assured. Jesus tasted spiritual and physical death, and now Joseph of Arimathea came to take the bloody and wounded and dead body of Jesus to give it a proper burial. The Bible says in Mark 15:46, And he brought fine linen, and took him down, and wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulcher which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulcher.
Jesus was dead and buried. The next few verses begin with what has happened time and time again at burial sites in the history of the human race: those who were the closest to the one who died came to the grave site to remember and to honor Him. That is a common scene. That is a part of life and how we say goodbye to someone who has left this world before us. You can go to any cemetery today and see similar scenes. Of course, there will be one thing different about this burial scene that has not yet been viewed at all the other burials: the resurrection. The Bible says in Mark 15:47-16:2, And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses beheld where he was laid. And when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulcher at the rising of the sun.
These women were at the grave on Sunday morning. Sunday morning is the morning that Jesus rose from the dead. This verse is the reason that Christians meet on Sunday instead of Saturday: in memory of the resurrection. Of course, its not a commandment to meet on Sunday for the preaching, praise, prayer, and fellowship; but there is nothing wrong with it either. Because in this age of the New Testament church we are free from the law, believers are free to choose whatever day they wish for their gatherings together to hear the Word of God preached.
On this first Easter Sunday these women chose to come to the grave of Jesus, and they were in for a surprise. The Bible says in Mark 16:3-6, And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great. And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted. And he said unto them, Be not affrighted. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified. He is risen. He is not here. Behold the place where they laid Him.
Instead of finding the dead body of Jesus, they found an angel. Instead of finding a place of mourning and sorrow, they found a place of joy and hope. Christianity is like that. When all seems lost, then God does something. These women went into the tomb and saw an angel. Several times angels had a part in the life of Christ. In heaven they sing praises to His name. They heralded His birth, they comforted Him along with the animals after the great trials in the wilderness, and here an angel announces the resurrection.
Thats what you do when you serve God in this world. You pronounce the message that God gives you. You share with others what God has revealed to you. God uses whom He can to spread His Word. When there was no human to speak, He sent an angel. When there were no disciples because they had fled, He sent the women with the message of the resurrection.
The angel said about Jesus, He is risen. He is not here. Jesus died, but He did not stay dead. Yes, He was crucified and
He died on the cross, but now He is risen. These women thought they would find
Jesus at a certain place on the outskirts of the city of
Jesus rose from the dead. Unlike the humans who established other great religions, Jesus did not stay in the grave. Jesus lives. When you were saved, you were not saved by a dead Christ, hanging dead upon a cross. You were saved by the living Christ, who rose from the dead the third day.
The angel said, He is risen. He is not here. They came to the place of the dead to look for the Christ. You will not find the living among the dead. They came to the wrong place. Some people go to dead churches, and they do not find the Christ there either. He is alive. He is more than alive: He is life itself, and He is the giver of life. If you do not know Christ, then you are the one that is dead. You need a spiritual birth. You need to be risen from the dead. Rising from the dead is used as symbolism for being saved and being born again. Thats what Romans chapter six is all about: explaining that symbolism.
Romans 6:3-4 says, Know you not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death; that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. The baptism that Romans chapter six is talking about is spiritual. There are two kinds of baptism. There is a spiritual baptism and a water baptism. Concerning water baptism, the various Christian churches have many different means and methods of water baptism, but only one of them can be correct. That means that many Christians have never really been baptized by water. But every true Christian has had the spiritual baptism. If you are in Christ through faith, then you were baptized into Christ by the Spirit.
That spiritual baptism takes place at the point of salvation. That is why Jesus called it a spiritual birth. The spiritual baptism identifies you with Jesus, spiritually speaking: at least as far as God is concerned. The identification that God gives you with Jesus is so complete that you are even identified with the death of Jesus on the cross. Jesus became sin and died on the cross, and so in a spiritual sense your old sinful nature also died on the cross. Your sin was hanging there. Your sinful selfish nature was hanging there. If you have believed in Jesus with saving faith, you should never allow yourself to think that you are condemned or judged or alienated from God. That cannot happen because God sees you as having died and rose again in a very real spiritual sense with Jesus. The sinful man died. The spiritual man rose to a new life. Romans 6:5-10 says, For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection. Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more: death has no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he lives, he lives unto God.
We can never over-state the importance of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead in regards to the truth from God. Paul spoke of its importance in First Corinthians 15:12-22, Now if Christ be preached that He rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: and if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; you are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first-fruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
The resurrection from the dead is the greatest of the hopes and the blessings of being a believer in Jesus Christ. The last event in the life of every human being is death. Today you are one day closer to when you will die, and you might die today. Looked at from a human standpoint, there are some very negative things about death and the finality of it. Life is so short and therefore so precious. One of the terrible things about death is losing contact with someone that you care about or love because the jaws of death took them unexpectedly or before their time. The pain of loss and separation can be difficult especially for any who have lost loved ones.
The wonderful thing about the message of Christ is that it gives a living hope that extends beyond the grave. Even more than that, the message of Christ points to a time when there will be no more death. The poet John Donne put it very well. He said, Death, thou shalt die. Because Jesus rose from the dead, the worst of human tragedies of gloom and darkness and despair and death can be transformed into a glorious day of joy and re-gathering and life forevermore thats just ahead a little over the horizon. Once the angel said, He is risen! that changed everything for the human race. Now everyone can follow in the footsteps of Jesus and have the same destiny as a gift from God. Death could not keep its prey when it was Jesus, and death will not keep you either if you trust in Jesus. Death will be simply going through a door and entering into a new life and a much better life with God forever. Woe be to those who miss the new life in Christ.
At the burial place of Christ the angel said to the women, He is risen! What a wonderful message! What a wonderful truth to know and to be assured of! Why is it that these women came to hear and to know this great truth when up to that time almost no one else knew it? The reason can be found in Mark 16:6 where it says of the women, Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth. Even Jesus said, Seek and ye shall find. Some people do not seek Jesus and do not want to know the truth about Him. Of course, they will not find Him unless they change and repent and begin to seek God when once they did not. There are great things and wonderful things about God and His Christ that can be revealed to your heart, if only you will seek them.
The last thing that the angel said to these women after Jesus rose
from the dead is given in Mark 16:7. It says, But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that He
goes before you into
If you are not a Christian, then you can turn to Jesus today and learn to have the same great relationship with God that Peter had. The relationship that Peter had with God was based upon how merciful God was to Peter, and was not based upon how good Peter was. Such a relationship with God is possible because of Jesus.
Copyright; 2003 by Charles
F. (Rick) Creech
All Rights Reserved