Oct 24, 2014
Jesus the Risen King
G'day and welcome to Partake! We are now on day 24 of our series "Glimpses", looking at the story of the Bible in 30 days, from the time of creation through to the time of the fullness of redemption! Last time we looked at the significance of Jesus' death. Today we look at what happened next!
The story so far! Jesus Christ has died as a common criminal and been buried in a garden tomb guarded by Roman soldiers. His followers, his disciples have abandoned him, no doubt in fear for their own lives. They had given up everything to be with this Jesus, following him in his 3 years of ministry. What would they do now? Go back to the lives they had before they followed this man, Jesus Christ. He was just another false messiah and there had been plenty of them. Or was he?
Each of the four Gospels, Matthew, Mark Luke and John, tell us that Jesus was crucified, died and was buried in a tomb. What do these four Gospels say about what happened next?
Firstly, what did Jesus predict about what would happen, as he often talked about his death!
An example of this can be seen from reading Mark 8v31 Then Jesus began to tell them that the Son of Man must suffer many terrible things and be rejected by the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but three days later he would rise from the dead.
So Jesus predicted he would rise physically from the dead! WOW! Let us firstly look at the sequence of events over the period of time after Jesus death.
The tomb is empty
The two Marys watch the burial (Matthew27v61, Mark 15v47, Luke23v54-55) and Roman soldiers are placed to guard the tomb in order to keep it safe: (Matthew 27v62-66). Then the two Marys arrive at dawn to prepare spices for the body of Jesus before resting (Matthew 28v1, Mark 16v1-4, Luke 23v56-24v3, John 20v1). An angel rolls the stone away a great distance from the tomb! (Matthew 28v2-4) and then angels appear to the women (Matthew 28v5-7, Mark 16v5-7, Luke 24v4-8)! The women dart back to tell disciples: (Matthew 28v8, Mark 16v8, Luke 24v9-11, John 20v2) and that gives Peter and John the impetus to go and investigate the empty tomb for themselves (Luke 24v12, John 20v3-9)! They find it empty and go home (Luke 24v12, John 20v10)! Mary Magdalene weeps by the tomb: (John 20v11) and then is met by two angels: (John 20v12-13)
And where is the body of Jesus? Was it stolen? Unlikely under a Roman guard! Was it 3 days? Yes! But not a literal 3 x 24hours! There was the rest of the Friday (1 day), all of Saturday (2 days) and part of the Sunday (3 days). Let's look now at his appearances!
First of all Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene (Mark 16v9, John 20v14-17)
and then to the other women (Matthew 28v9-10! Then the women report to the disciples in haste (Mark 16v10-11, John 20v18)! The Roman guards testify to the Jewish priests about what they knew (Matthew 28v11-15)!
Then as two people are walking along the road to Emmaus, Jesus greets and talks to them (Mark 16v12-13, Luke 24v13-32)! Then Jesus appears to Peter (1 Corinthians 15v5).
The 2 men who met Jesus on the Emmaus Road report back to the disciples in Jerusalem (Luke 24v33-35)! Finally, Jesus appears to his disciples, but Thomas isn't there (Luke 24v36-43, John 20v19-24)! When the disciples meet up with Thomas they tell him that they have met with the risen Jesus but Thomas doubts it unless he sees with his own eyes (John 20v25)!
Jesus then appears to the Disciples again and this time Thomas is there (Mark 16v14, John 20v26-29). Jesus goes on to appear to seven people (John 21v1-14), then 500 people (1 Corinthians 15v6). Then finally, Jesus appears to James: (1 Corinthians 15v7). So, not only from the Gospels as you may have observed, but also one from the letter to the Corinthians. That was a letter written by Paul, but we come to him later in the series!
Evidences for the resurrection
Oh that's all very well, but what further evidences do we have for this resurrection of Jesus Christ?
These facts remain for the resurrection:
- The changed attitude of the disciples after seeing the risen Jesus - from defeated, cowardly people to being victorious and, brave.
- Nobody who could have produced the dead body of Jesus, did so. Their silence is as significant as the words of the eyewitnesses.
- The multiple appearances of Jesus to various numbers of individuals and groups of people, all at various times of the day and in differing circumstances.
- The survival, growth and impact of the early church. If there was no bodily resurrection of Jesus' would people really have risked persecution and death for knowing a lie? Maybe a few would but not masses of people!
- It was a physical resurrection and not merely a spiritual one as some suggest! Jesus was touched physically, involved in conversation and even ate food!
- The greatest evidence though for the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ is the very existence of the church itself and its being embedded in history. If the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ wasn't the catalyst for the start of the church, what was it and would it have lasted 2000 years so far?
Dealing with Doubters
How do we deal with those who doubt Jesus bodily resurrection and rising from the dead.
- Let's say Jesus didn't rise from the dead. Surely the authorities, either Roman or Jewish, would have produced his dead body in order to quench the new movement! But they didn't. The Romans wouldn't have wanted any more trouble from the Jewish people and the Jewish hierarchy would have wanted to squash the very notion that Jesus was the Messiah who had bodily risen from the dead.
- Would the disciples have really risked death for telling and maintaining a lie about the risen Jesus? They were beaten, confused and defeated men until they saw that Jesus truly did rise physically from the dead. After seeing Him, they were transformed and victorious people.
- Somebody stole the body. Hardly likely, and if that did occur, for what reason? How would they have got past the Roman Guard and moved the stone a great distance from the tomb? The tomb was sealed to prevent tampering as well. An impossibility!
- Some say that Jesus didn't die but merely fainted and recovered consciousness in the tomb. Even the sceptics disagree with this theory, one of whom said "It is impossible that a being who had stolen half-dead out of the sepulchre, who crept about weak and ill, wanting medical treatment, who required bandaging, strengthening and indulgence, and who still at last yielded to His sufferings, could have given to the disciples the impression that he was a Conqueror over death and the grave, the Prince of Life."
- Or I suppose they all went to the wrong tomb. Whilst one person may have gone to a wrong tomb, not everyone would have done. And again the authorities, Roman or Jewish, would have shown the body in order to dispel the rumours!
So Jesus really did rise from the dead, in a bodily resurrection! So what?
Significance of the Resurrection
The bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ provided the central theme for the sermons and teaching in the early church (Acts 1v22; Acts 4v33, Acts 17v18). But what significance is there in Jesus' resurrection?
- The resurrection proved and vindicated all Jesus' teaching and claims as the suffering Servant and attested to his being fully God and the last Judge of all mankind (Isaiah 53v10-12; Acts 2v36; Acts 3v13-15; Romans 1v4).
- The resurrection declared God's approval of Jesus' obedient service and the fulfilment of all the Old Testament promises that we looked at! This results in forgiveness of sins and salvation being only found in and through Jesus Christ, which was the prime motive for evangelism in the early church (Acts 2v32, Romans 4v24-25) It is vindication that Jesus is greater than Abraham or Moses!
- The bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ is proof evident of the I AM claims: He is truly the bread of life, the light of the world, the gate and the good shepherd, the resurrection and the life, the only way, the only truth and the only life!
- Jesus' resurrection is a sign of the bodily resurrection for all believers in him, giving a new attitude to death and transforming hopes to all those who partake of his offer (1 Corinthians 15v12-58, Romans 8v10, 2 Corinthians 4v14; 1 Peter 1v3 & 21)! More about this to come!
- As the resurrected King, Jesus now intercedes for us and has perfected the redemption of all those who choose to follow him (Romans 5v10; Hebrews 6v20, 1 Peter 1v21). More about this too later!
Jesus has died and risen physically again! But what next? Is that all? Oh no! There is more yet to come in our story tomorrow! Thank you.