Summary: Christ’s resurrection guarantees the believer’s resurrection; the believer’s resurrection gives life meaning; and the believer’s resurrection makes death a gain.
Thomas Jefferson, a great man, nevertheless could not accept the miraculous elements in Scripture. He edited his own special version of the Bible in which all references to the supernatural were deleted. Jefferson, in editing the Gospels, confined himself solely to the moral teachings of Jesus. The closing words of Jefferson’s Bible are these: “There laid they Jesus and rolled a great stone at the mouth of the sepulchre and departed.” Thank God that is not the way the story really ends!
A little boy and his father were driving down a country road on a beautiful spring afternoon. Suddenly out of nowhere a bumblebee flew in the car window. Since the little boy was deathly allergic to bee stings, be became petrified. But the father quickly reached out, grabbed the bee, squeezed it in his hand, and then released it. But as soon as he let it go, the young son became frantic once again as it buzzed by the little boy. His father saw his pain-stricken face. Once again the father reached out his hand, but this time he pointed to his hand. There still stuck in his skin was the stinger of the bee. “Do you see this?” he said. “You don’t need to be afraid anymore. I’ve taken the sting for you.” And this is the message of Easter. We don’t need to be afraid of death anymore. Christ faced death for us. And by His victory, we are saved from sin. Christ has taken the sting! First Corinthians 15:22 asks: “Where, oh death, is your sting?” Christ has taken the stinger for us. He has risen! Fear is gone. New life is ours.
When General Douglas MacArthur left the Philippines in the early part of World War II, he made a short speech: “I will return.” Later on in the war, he came back to the Philippines in victory. Cameras recorded his wading ashore. He made another speech: “I have returned.” The first speech would have been worthless without the second, which gave it force and meaning. So Jesus promised to rise from the dead. How hollow that would sound if He had not come back from the dead. But what a note of victory it now sounds now that He is risen!
“Why should it be thought incredible by you that God raises the dead?”–Acts 26:8
Why then should it be thought incredible that God should raise the dead? If God could take the dust and breathe life into it to create a man, why would anyone think it incredible for this same God to raise someone from the dead?
Yes, it is most credible that Jesus would arise. It would be incredible if after the miraculous life He lived He had remained in the grave.
Here we find Job climbing out of the pit of despair to scale the heights of faith, to utter some of the most beautiful words recorded in Scripture.
Questions with the Same Answer
All these questions have the same answer.
What is it that gives a widow courage as she stands beside a fresh grave?
What is the ultimate hope of the cripple, the amputee, the abused, the burn victim?
Why would anyone who is blind or deaf or paralyzed be encouraged when they think of the life beyond?
How can we see past the martyrdom of some helpless hostage or devoted missionary?
Where do the thoughts of a young couple go when they finally recover from the grief of losing their baby?
When a family receives the tragic news that a little daughter was found dead or their dad was killed in a plane crash, what single truth becomes their whole focus?
What is the final answer to pain, mourning, senility, insanity, terminal diseases, sudden calamities, and fatal accidents?
By now you’ve guessed correctly: the hope of bodily resurrection.
Jesus said in John 11:25 and 26, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?”
I. Christ’s Resurrection Guarantees the Believer’s Resurrection.
As the Lamb of God, Jesus died on the Passover. As the sheaf of firstfruits, He arose from the dead three days later on the first day of the week. When the priest waved the sheaf of the firsfruits before the Lord, it was a sign that the entire harvest belonged to Him. When Jesus was raised from the dead, it was God’s assurance to us that we will also be raised one day as part of that future harvest.
Romans 8:11 - “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”