(John 3:16 NKJV) (16) For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
“Believing in Him…” means much more than just believing He existed. You must believe He accomplished His mission and fulfilled God’s plan of Redemption.
(For more details on Jesus’ actual death on the Cross, refer to last Easter’s message on April 17, 2022.)
In addition to all the people who saw Him die on the Cross, the following individuals and groups verified that His dead body was in the tomb:
(Luke 23:50-56 NKJV)
- Joseph of Arimathea carefully laid Him inside the tomb.
- Nicodemus provided the embalming solutions, assisted in embalming Him, and helped Joseph of Arimathea lay Him in His place in the tomb.
- Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses lovingly examined His body and carefully contemplated every aspect of the burial site to ensure everything was done properly and respectfully.
(Matthew 27:62-66 NKJV)
- Rome’s official officer went into the tomb and examined the body of Jesus to verify that it was Jesus and that He was really dead.
- The chief priests and elders entered the tomb with Rome’s official officer so they could look upon Jesus’ dead body and put an end to their worries that He had somehow survived.
- Roman guards checked the contents of the tomb because they wanted to know for sure a body was there. They didn’t want to be guarding an empty tomb that would later be used as a claim of resurrection, while they got blamed for the disappearance of Jesus’ body.
After all of these inspections were complete, Rome’s official officer ordered the stone be rolled into place. While the chief priests, elders, and Roman guards watched, he secured the site and sealed it shut with the seal of the governor of Rome.
The purpose of the seal was to authenticate that Jesus was dead; therefore, we can know that His body was thoroughly inspected again for proof of death.
Regardless of these efforts to secure the site and to keep Jesus inside the grave, it was impossible for death to hold Him. When preaching on the day of Pentecost, Peter proclaimed to the people of Jerusalem,
(Acts 2:23-24 TPT) (23) This Man’s destiny was prearranged, for God knew that Jesus would be handed over to you to be crucified and that you would execute him on a cross by the hands of lawless men. Yet it was all part of his predetermined plan. (24) God destroyed the cords of death and raised him up, because it was impossible for death’s power to hold him prisoner.
(Matthew 28:1-7 NKJV) Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. (2) And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. (3) His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. (4) And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men. (5) But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. (6) He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. (7) And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.”
The power of God exploded inside that tomb, reconnected Jesus’ spirit with His dead body, flooded His corpse with life, and He arose! So much power was released behind the sealed entrance of His tomb that the earth itself reverberated and shuddered from the explosion.
Then an angel rolled the stone from the entrance to the tomb, and Jesus physically walked through the door of that tomb alive! This is no legend nor fairy tale. This is the foundation of our faith! He was resurrected from the dead sometime between the close of Sabbath sunset on Saturday evening and before the women came to the tomb early on Sunday morning. The only actual eyewitnesses to the resurrection itself were the angels who were present and the four Roman soldiers who had been stationed there at Pilate’s command.
This earthquake in Matthew 28:2 didn’t occur at the time when the women approached the tomb; rather, it occurred simultaneously with the moment of Jesus’ resurrection, sometime after the Saturday sunset and before the women arrived at the garden. When describing the magnitude of the earthquake, Matthew tells us that there was “a great (mega) earthquake.”
(Mark 16:4 NKJV) But when they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away–for it was very large.
In other words, this was no normal stone; the authorities placed an extremely, exceedingly massive stone in front of the entrance to Jesus’ tomb. Yet when the women arrived, it had been removed!
Matthew 28:2 tells us HOW the stone was removed. It says that “…the angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone from the door and sat upon it.” Matthew informs us that not only was the angel strong, but “his countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow” (v. 3). The immense size, power, and brilliance of this angel explains why the Roman guards to be afraid and later flee the scene.
Matthew 28:4 tells us, “And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.” The soldiers were so terrified at the appearance of the angel that they fell to the ground, violently trembling and so paralyzed with fear that they were unable to move.
When they were finally able to move again, these guards fled the scene — and when the women arrived at the garden, they were nowhere to be found! But what did the women find inside the tomb besides the vacant spot where Jesus had laid?
When they stepped into the tomb:
They came expecting to see the stone in front of the tomb, but it was removed. Sitting on top of the massive stone was a dazzling angel. To get into the tomb, they had to pass by that angel — but once in the tomb, they discovered there was no dead body. Then suddenly they looked over to the right side of the tomb and saw a second angel, dressed in a long, white robe like a warrior, ruler, priest, or king. The women didn’t expect to encounter any of these unusual events that morning. It would have been normal for their heads to be whirling with questions!
(Luke 24:5-8 NKJV) Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? (6) He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, (7) saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’ ” (8) And they remembered His words.
Later Jesus Encountered the Disciples:
(Matthew 28:16-20 NKJV) Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. (17) When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted. (18) And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. (19) Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (20) teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
This is the Power of His Resurrection:
- On the Cross, Jesus died spiritually, but God raised Him from the dead so that you could receive a new life.
- On the Cross, Jesus became guilty for you, but God raised Him from the dead so that you could be declared innocent.
- On the Cross, Jesus took your shame, but God raised Him from the dead so that you could hold your head high in Him.
- On the Cross, Jesus experienced God turning His back on Him, but God raised Him from the dead so that God would never leave and forsake you.
- On the Cross, Jesus took the disrespect and dishonor of men, but God raised Him from the dead so that you could receive the honor and respect of God.
- On the Cross, Jesus died in darkness, but God raised Him from the dead so that you could live and walk in the light.
- On the Cross, Jesus died as in obscurity, but God raised Him from the dead so that you could receive meaning and significance.
- On the Cross, Jesus took your sickness, but God raised Him from the dead so that you could receive healing in your body.
- On the Cross, Jesus took the curse that was on us, but God raised Him from the dead so that you could receive His blessing.
- On the Cross, Jesus died on Friday as an everyday thief, but God raised Him from the dead on Sunday as a King for you.
Jesus is alive and He is Lord!!!!