Summary: The good news the resurrection brings to the non-believer and the believer as well.

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Good News From The Grave

Matthew 28:1-10 "In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first [day] of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead [men]. And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you. And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word. And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him. Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me."

Is the story of the resurrection of Jesus Christ fact or fiction? Is the central tenant of the Christian faith an authentic and validated belief or is a fanciful figment of the imagination of those who yearn for immortality? If it is, then not only is the reason for this season a sham and charade, but those who are deluded by the grand hoax are of all people the most miserable.

Paul sums up the result of such a gigantic hoax in these words: "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; ye 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." (I Cor. 15:13-19)

The rest of this resurrection chapter is a triumphant affirmation of the resurrection. When the extent of the precautions taken by both the friends and enemies of Jesus to insure His body could not be stolen are considered, the resurrection is the most logical explanation for the empty tomb. To advocate that such a deceitful plot could have been successfully planned and executed is unrealistic. The manipulation, timing and intricate detail involved would have entailed a logistical nightmare. The direction and control of the dozens of people necessarily involved in such a continuing cover-up, defies what is commonly known about human nature.

The appearances of Jesus Christ in a resurrection body is an irrefutable evidence of the validity of His bodily resurrection. In the forty days that followed His resurrection, His appearances to His disciples followed the following approximate chronological order: Certain women returning from the sepulchre, Mary Magdalene at the tomb, Peter before the evening of the resurrection day, Cleopas and his companion on Sunday afternoon, ten disciples at their evening meal, all eleven disciples a week later, a number of disciples while fishing on Galilee, the apostles and over five hundred others on a mountain, James and last of all the apostles before His ascension. If the resurrection did not occur, is it reasonable the Four Gospels, the book of Acts and the First Corinthian letter, all giving these appearances as historical and indisputable fact, would be written and published in the lifetime of many of the witnesses mentioned, without a record of a dissenting voice being raised?

The beginning and very existence of the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ could only be reasonably explained by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. "The Church rests on the resurrection of its Founder. Without this fact the church could never have been born, or if born, would soon have died a natural death. The miracle of the resurrection and the existence of Christianity are so closely connected that they must stand or fall together. If Christ was raised from the dead then all His miracles are sure, and our faith is not in vain. It is only His resurrection that made His death available for our atonement, justification and salvation; without the resurrection His death would be the grave of our sins. A gospel of a dead Saviour would be a contradiction and a wretched delusion. This is the reasoning of Paul and its force is irresistible." (Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church)

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