Summary: “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.” (Luke 24:46-47)
Theme: Living the resurrected life
Text: Is. 25:6-9; 1 Cor. 5:6-8; Lk. 24:13-49
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! The resurrection of Jesus Christ is central to the Christian faith and nothing can match its significance. When Jesus rose from the dead, He proved that He was exactly who He claimed to be and had accomplished what He came to accomplish. When we pay the price for a valuable item we are given a receipt as proof that payment has been made. Jesus made full payment for sin on the cross and His resurrection is the receipt that full payment has been made. His resurrection guarantees our resurrection. It is our only hope of eternal salvation, and our only hope of being with God in glory forever. Christ’s victory over death is also our victory and because He lives as our resurrected Lord we also are living the resurrected life. Christ is risen, alleluia He is risen indeed.
The resurrection proves that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Before the resurrection, Christ had appeared before two human courts, the religious court of the Jewish Council and the secular court of the Roman Governor. Both these courts rejected His claim to be the Son of God and condemned Him to death. God reversed the decisions of the Jewish council and the Roman Governor and publicly declared Christ to be the sinless Son of God by His resurrection. His resurrection is proof that His sacrifice fulfilled its purpose and confirms God’s offer of forgiveness and salvation to every repentant sinner who puts his faith in Christ as “He was delivered up because of our offences, and was raised because of our justification” Romans 4:25. The resurrection of Christ reveals the new life of the believer. Christ is alive so that the words of Scripture in 1 John 4:17 can be fulfilled, “as He is so also are we in this world”.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ ensures our resurrection life. Because He lives we shall live also. The message of Scripture has always been a message of resurrection hope, a message that death is not the end as is illustrated in a grain of wheat. A grain cannot bear fruit unless it is first planted in the ground, seemingly dies, germinates and grows out of the ground to bear fruit. Jesus used this example to teach that His ministry of reconciliation between God and man could only come as a result of His own atoning death and resurrection. If He were to stop short of death on the cross, no fruit could come forth out of His ministry. It is only through His death, burial and resurrection that there would come forth the fruit of a great harvest of sinners, justified and reconciled to God. We are all sinners in need of a Saviour. Easter Sunday confirms that God has accepted the price paid for our sin. It is finished and all we need to do for God’s forgiveness is to believe in what Christ has done for us.
The proof of the resurrection of Christ is really overwhelming. For the Gospel writers the empty tomb confirms the reality that "he had risen, just as he said". There was the witness of angels. At His resurrection an angel announces that He had risen, and that they should tell his disciples that He had risen from the dead and was going ahead of them into Galilee where they would see him. There was also the witness of men as Christ appeared to many eye-witnesses: the women, the Emmaus travellers, Peter, James and John, the rest of the Twelve, then a group of 500 believers, and finally the Apostle Paul.
The people who question the resurrection really are questioning the power of God. They cannot believe that God can raise someone from the dead. But if God can create all things and sustain them, why is it so hard to believe that God can raise someone from the dead. The evidence of the resurrection is so crucial to Christianity that an angel made sure that the evidence was not tampered with. When the angel rolled the stone away it was not so that Jesus could get out of the tomb but to let the women in. God wanted eyewitnesses to the empty tomb because the resurrection of Christ guarantees the resurrection of every saint. The angel by rolling back the stone and breaking the seal of the Roman Emperor, and paralysing the soldiers, was making a clear statement, a statement that there is no power higher and greater than God’s power. There is only one response to this revelation from the angel and that is to believe in Jesus Christ and worship Him as our risen Lord and Saviour.
We can only live the resurrected life when we believe the Word of God that Christ died for us and in our place. We must believe that when He died our old rebellious nature died with Him and that His resurrection guarantees our new life, the risen life. The risen life is a life that is focused on Christ. When we misdirect our focus on ourselves and on our disappointments and problems instead of Christ we fail to recognise Christ no matter how close He is to us. Our disappointments and shattered hopes have a way of blinding us and keeping us from the truth of the Scriptures. They make us rather doubt the Word of God. Focusing on Christ will lead us in the right direction to the blessed life. Focus on Christ removes fear and restores hope.