Because Jesus rose again, we too can rise to eternal life.
READ IN YOUR BIBLE:
“You brought me up from the grave, O Lord. You kept me from falling into the pit of death.”
“Gone! What do you mean, ‘Gone’?” The guards shrank back as the priest fumed at them.
“My Lord, there was an earthquake…”, began the first.
“Bright light and a terrible noise”, said the other. “When the dust had settled, the stone was lying flat and the body was gone.”
“We promise we’re telling the truth.”
The priest looked at the men. “Incompetents”, he thought. He summoned his servant, “Bring me two bags of silver”. He looked again at the guards and sighed, “Better make it gold”.
He is Risen!
Before His crucifixion, Jesus told His disciples, “…we’re going up to Jerusalem, where the Son of Man [Jesus] will be betrayed to the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. They will sentence Him to die. Then they will hand Him over to the Romans to be mocked, flogged with a whip, and crucified. But on the third day He will be raised from the dead” (Matthew 20:18,19). Everyone knew Jesus expected to rise from the dead. The guards were only there because the priests expected the disciples to stage a resurrection. But what surprised even His own followers was that Jesus actually pulled it off!
All great men die. Only one has risen again forever. Jesus was not just a martyr or great teacher killed for what He believed. As the prophets foresaw, Jesus rose from the dead, triumphing over death and preparing a way for all who believe in Him to receive eternal life. And not just spiritual life.
Jesus’ resurrection was more than spiritual. A spiritual resurrection could happen while His body remained buried. But, as David wrote, God did not allow His body to see decay. As the disciples testified, Jesus’ actual body was resurrected. But His body was not the same as before. Other men had been raised from the dead; Jesus raised Lazarus. But each of these died again. Jesus was raised, never to die again.
Paul the apostle describes how this works, “What you put in the ground is not the plant that will grow, but only a bare seed of wheat or whatever you are planting. Then God gives it the new body He wants it to have … It is the same way with the resurrection of the dead. Our earthly bodies are planted in the ground when we die, but they will be raised to live forever. Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory” (1 Corinthians 15:37,38,42,43 NLT).
He goes on to quote the prophets Hosea and Isaiah, who both wrote hundreds of years before Jesus’ time. “When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’” (1 Corinthians 15:54,55 NIV).
Remember God’s adoption plan. When you plant a single seed, you expect a harvest of far more. When God sowed Jesus to death, He too received a harvest of sons and daughters, of which Jesus was the first. Paul calls Him “the firstborn from the dead” (Colossians 1:18 ESV). The apostle John also calls Jesus “the first to rise from the dead” (Revelation 1:5 NLT). Because Jesus rose again, if we receive Him, we too can rise to eternal life.
Almighty God, Father and Lord of life, thank You that You raised Jesus from the dead. Thank You that His resurrection was complete, body and spirit. Thank You, I can look forward to the same resurrection, if I receive Jesus as my Lord. I receive You Jesus, as my Lord and my God. Please come and live in my heart, so that I can live with You, forever. Amen.