The Resurrection of Christ:
(Read John 20:1-10)
The resurrection of Christ is central to Christian faith. It is not a made up story or a myth. The testimonies of historians, the character of Christ and the eyewitness account of disciples validate this historical truth. His miracles were never challenged or disputed by anybody. His burial was public and secured. His tomb was guarded by Roman guards and sealed with Roman seal. The breaking of the Roman seal will result in capital punishment. Bible gives convincing evidence of His resurrection. It was predicted in the Old Testament. Jesus himself predicted this numerous times to his disciples. After resurrection Jesus appeared to His disciples many times. It transformed the fearful disciples into bold witnesses. They died for their faith in Christ. Still some people want evidence to believe the resurrection of Christ. They should answer these questions. If Christ is not risen? Who rolled away the stone from the tomb? Who overcame the Roman soldiers? How the whole world was impacted by the gospel? How the 500 witnesses lie about it at the same time? Who gave the disciples power over their doubts, confusion, sadness and fear? Christ died for our sins. Prophet says "He was wounded for our transgression and was crushed for our iniquities" (Isaiah 53:5, 6). Jesus was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification (Rom 4:25). What a great Savior!
Resurrection is a historical Fact:
(Read John 20:11-23)
The original witnesses of resurrection of Christ were women (Mark 16:1). Early morning Mary Magdalene went to the tomb with spices to anoint the body of Christ. She was wondering, who would remove the stone from the entrance of the tomb. But nothing could stop her from going to the tomb. How appropriate that she was the first to arrive at the tomb. There is no fear in love. Perfect love drives out fear (1 John 4:18). Mary found that the body was missing. She runs to tell the news to Peter and John. They reached the tomb and Peter entered the tomb. He saw that the body is missing, but was not sure about resurrection (20:9). Peter and John were slow to accept the reality of Jesus' resurrection. Only the Holy Spirit helps us to understand what the scriptures reveal about the person and work of Christ. Mary returned to the tomb after Peter and John left. Jesus revealed Himself to her. She was told to go and tell the good news to other disciples. This command given to Mary is given to all of us. Men have tried to honor their heroes by erecting monuments such as pyramids for their dead. But Christ’s tomb remains empty. The resurrection of Christ is the essential part of the gospel message. It is the climax and conclusion of the gospel. It is the miracle of miracles. It is the proof that Jesus is the Son of God (Rom 1:4). Christianity stands or falls on the doctrine of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Resurrection Transforms Lives:
(Read John 20:25-29)
The resurrection of Christ has changed fearful disciples into bold preachers of the gospel. The original witnesses were women (Mark 16:1). Mary Magdalene went and told John and Peter and said "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him". They immediately went to the tomb and saw that everything was neat and orderly except that the body was missing. Their sight now turned to faith. Until then they did not understand that Jesus must rise from the dead. Then Jesus appeared to all disciples (except Thomas) and gave them the great commission. Jesus' gracious encounter with the fearful disciples gave them courage. Only gospel affirms life, hope and immortality. Christ gave them the authority to proclaim the gospel of the forgiveness of sin. Jesus promises his peace to all those who receive him. Jesus also appeared to Thomas and shown him the nail prints. Thomas immediately acknowledged Jesus and said "My Lord and my God" (20:28). His doubt has turned to faith and assurance. Jesus said Thomas "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed”. What a merciful Savior! Seeing does not mean believing. Facts are good but faith is better. Those who do not believe in Christ often get stuck in their prideful doubts.
Resurrection is the greatest Miracle:20:30-31.
The greatest sign found in the gospel is the sign of the resurrection of Christ. The empty tomb of Jesus was not hard to prove. If there was a body in the tomb, it was impossible for the resurrection story to survive. Jews substantiated the fact that tomb was empty because they said disciples have stolen the body of Christ. It was suicidal for disciples to steal the body. Where they could hide it? Women were the first witnesses of this empty tomb. At that time women did not have any voice in the society and were not allowed to bear testimony in a court of law. The Apostolic message was “Jesus is alive”. It is relevant because it answers questions about our past, present and future. There is forgiveness of sin in Him. Our future is secured because He is alive. Jesus is the reason for our living. Nobody can be neutral to this truth. This Gospel is written so that we may understand the importance and urgency of our choice. Those who believe in the Son of God will be saved and have eternal life. The purpose of the writing of the gospel is given in verses 20:30-31. Signs are miracles Jesus performed to prove His deity. "Believe" simply means trust and commitment to Christ. Eternal life is the result of believing in the Son of God. Christ commissioned apostles to go forth and make disciples of all nations (20:21). Jesus gave them authority to preach the gospel of forgiveness in the name of Jesus Christ. What a privilege and awesome responsibility! Jesus said "As the Father has sent me, so I sent you" (20:21). Pray for the millions of people who never heard the gospel of Christ. Are you willing to share the gospel to them?