Summary: The thing that sets Christianity apart from the religions of the world is that Jesus rose from the dead, and He is alive forever. There are some things that we see about Jesus in the resurrection account, that serve to confirm what He had already been de
The thing that sets Christianity apart from the religions of the world is that Jesus rose from the dead, and He is alive forever. There are some things that we see about Jesus in the resurrection account, that serve to confirm what He had already been demonstrating to those who followed Him.
First, there is the fact that He has great command. He summarizes that truth in verse 18 by saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” That’s all authority! Not only is it all authority, but it’s not limited to the earth, it’s also in heaven.
One of the main things we see in this resurrection account is that He has authority over life and death. There are some people of great authority on this earth, but God alone has this kind of authority. It is no wonder that Jesus has it, because He is God, the Son, co-equal with the Father.
Jesus had already demonstrated that He had this authority on three occasions: He raised Jairus’ daughter from death to life, as recorded in Mark 5:39-42; He raised the Widow of Nain’s son from the dead, as recorded in Luke 7:12-15; and, as we see in John 11:38-44, He raised Lazarus to life, after he had been in the grave four days. Now, Jesus didn’t just go through cemeteries raising up the dead people, but He raised these, and I believe, for the express purpose of getting His followers ready for His own resurrection, and to get all believers of all time ready to accept by faith that we are going to be resurrected.
The statement of verse 18 also includes that He has absolute authority over ever creature. Just a few days before this resurrection account, He had ridden into Jerusalem on the back of a little donkey that had never before been sat upon. People were waving palm branches and throwing things in the pathway, yet there is no report of the little animal even acting skiddiest. This is a demonstration of Jesus’ authority, like commanding a fish to deliver a coin with which they could pay their taxes, or sending demons into a herd of swine. In verse 2, we see the angels coming to do service for Him. When Jesus was about to go to the Cross, He said that the Father would give Him more than 12 legions of angels, if He would only say the word.
What kind of image do you get in your mind when you think of angels? If you only think of delicate, little, fat baby-like creatures with long, curly, blonde hair and wings, you will probably not be too impressed that Jesus has authority over angels. But, if you can realize the power of just a single angel, then you will be impressed. In verse 4, the Roman guards, who were trained to not flinch in the face of death, became very afraid at the sight of one angel. They were not trained to face angels! It really gets exciting when you realize that Hebrews 1:14 says that angels are “all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation.” That’s us!
In addition to seeing Jesus’ absolute command in this passage, we see His compassion in verses 7-10. These women were saddened about the death of Jesus, and they had come with spices to anoint the body, and to pay their last respects. In kindness, the Lord sent them a message, and not just for them, but for His other disciples, as well. Then, in verse 9, He met them and told them to “rejoice.” Rejoice is a great word. It means to experience joy all over again. That’s exactly what they did, and that’s what anybody does, when they realize that they are in the presence of Jesus.
Then, in verse 10, Jesus called the disciples, His brothers. They had denied Him, hid themselves away in the time of His greatest difficulty, yet He still called them brothers. What a friend we have in Jesus! Isn’t it comforting to know that when we mess up, we are not forsaken? I have to confess that there have been times that I have forsaken Him, but He has never forsaken me. In those times that I have stumbled and fell, He has always been there to pick up and remind me that I belonged to Him. Hebrews 7:25 says, “...He ever lives to make intercession for us.”
In verses 18-20, we have what we know as the great commission. It is the commission He gave to us, His followers. As His body upon the earth, we are to obey our head, who is the Lord, Himself. It is the Lord’s purpose to gather people for Himself from every nation. We have a world wide ministry that begins right here where we are, but is always concerned with those in the far reaches of the world. This is to be our heartbeat, because it’s His heartbeat.