Summary: The reality of the resurrection is the center piece of the Christian faith. It means the last enemy has been defeated, Hell and the grave has been conquered, the Law has been fulfilled, the sacrifices completed and the justice of God has been completely satisfied.
After the week of passion, who would have ever thought that three days later things could change so drastically? The scene at the tomb was the conclusion of an age old conflict. This was the promised fulfillment of God's plan of redemption and restoration. Finally the walls of separation were torn down and every partition moved as all things were united in Christ.
The reality of the resurrection is the center piece of the Christian faith. It means the last enemy has been defeated. It means that death, Hell and the grave has been conquered for all time. It means that the Law has been fulfilled, the sacrifices completed and the justice of God has been completely satisfied.
The birth of Christ is celebrated. The life of Christ is honored. The death of Christ is remembered, but the resurrection of Jesus is experienced. The resurrected Christ gives life and confirms himself to be the son of God.
One can only imagine the confusion, doubt and fear experienced by the Disciples of Christ following His crucifixion. For three days, they were hidden in an upper chamber, hearing nothing but rumors and street gossip. These men were full of guilt and fear, each of them probably experiencing their own personal torment. One of them had betrayed Jesus. Peter their chief spokesman had denied him, and the rest had run away like scared little children. Only John had possessed the courage to go with Jesus to the trial, but John was not allowed to speak in his defense. Were these the men that would to save the world? They could not even save Jesus. Their faith had failed them and fear had possessed and paralyzed them. The word on street was that they were being sought by the Jewish authorities.
In their hiding place, they rehearsed the arrest, trial, conviction, public scourging and execution of Jesus over and over in their minds. Jerusalem was in an uproar, strange things were being reported. The region had experienced the first recorded eclipse, as sun had gone down in the middle of the afternoon. On the third day morning, the city had been awakened by an earthquake. The city of Jerusalem was filled with confusion, fear and suspicion. It seemed that everyone was suspicious of everyone else. It was reported that the authorities were offering rewards for any information about that sect. New reports were coming in that vandals had desecrated the graveyard and that many tombs were overturned, and graves were open and empty. Someone had also vandalized the temple and the veil of temple had been rent from the top to the bottom.
These disciples sat, pondering the last words of Jesus the Christ over and over again…..
Lu 23:34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.
Lu 23:43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.
Joh 19:26 When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!
Joh 19:27 Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.
Joh 19:28 After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.
Lu 23:46 And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.
Joh 19:30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
How shocking these days must have been. Some days like that day in Texas, when John F. Kennedy was assassinated or as that day in Memphis, Tennessee when Martin Luther King Jr. was gunned down. That day Jesus said, "It is finished." He had faced all of life's enemies but one. He had faced the world, the flesh and the devil. He had faced sickness, sorrow and sadness. He had overcome the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. Now he must face death, the last enemy to be conquered. Here what Isaiah says,
Isa 25:7,8 And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it.
Christ had encountered death and had conquered it several times before: Widow’s son at Naim in Luke 7, Jairus' daughter in Mark 5, and His good friend, Lazarus John 11. Now Jesus must taste death for himself and for all mankind. This last enemy must be subdued. Jesus had done many great things; changed water into wine, multiplied food on several occasions, walked on water, healed every kind of sickness and raised the dead as had other great men of God. Remember the works of Elijah, Elisha, Peter, and Paul. But in the resurrection, Jesus surpasses them all.