THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS
[John:19:31-42]; [Matthew:27:62-66]; [John:20:1-31].
"I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth" (Job 19:25).
I The Crucified on the Crosses
1. The petition of the Jews that the three be killed and taken down, [John:19:31].
2. The legs of the two thieves broken and Jesus' side pierced, [John:19:32-34].
3. The perfect fulfilment of two Old Testament prophecies, [John:19:35-37]; [Exodus:12:46]; [Psalms:34:20]; [Zechariah:12:10]; [Revelation:1:7].
II Jesus' Burial in the Garden
1. The request of Joseph of Arimathaea for Jesus' body, [John:19:38].
2. The body embalmed with spices by the disciple Nicodemus, J[John:19:39], [John:19:40].
3. His body laid in Joseph's new sepulchre, [John:19:41-42]; [Matthew:27:57-60]; [Isaiah:53:9].
III The Vain Attempt to Conceal the Resurrection
1. The Pharisees' visit to Pilate on the day of the Passover, [Matthew:27:62].
2. Their infamous accusation a proof of their knowledge of Jesus' teachings regarding Himself, [Matthew:27:63]; [Matthew:16:21]; [John:2:19-22].
3. A favour asked to prevent His disappearance from the tomb, [Matthew:27:64].
4. A watch granted, and the Roman seal put upon the stone, [MAT:27: 65-66].
IV The Visits to the Empty Tomb
1. Mary Magdalene's discovery. Her despair: "They have taken away the Lord," [John:20:1-2].
2. The arrival of Peter and John at the empty sepulchre, [John:20:3-10].
3. Weeping Mary met and greeted by her risen Lord, [John:20:11-18].
V Christ's Appearances after His Resurrection
1. His appearance to the disciples on the evening of His resurrection day, [John:20:19-23]; [Luke:24:36-48].
2. Thomas' doubting an indication of a sincere quest for truth, [John:20:24-25].
3. Jesus' appearance to the disciples, Thomas included, the next Lord's Day, [John:20:26-28].
4. The benediction on believers of all ages, [John:20:29-31].
The resurrection of Jesus has been established as a historical fact by the testimony of the disciples who witnessed His crucifixion and then afterwards met their risen Lord. This fact is further verified by the Apostle Paul, who writes that above 500 brethren at once saw Jesus before He ascended into Heaven: and that he himself also saw the Lord as "one born out of due time" after Jesus' ascension ([1 Corinthians:15:5-8]).
Much doubt lingered in the hearts of Jesus' disciples concerning His resurrection, in those dark hours after His crucifixion and prior to the appearances that He made to them in the days preceding His ascension. During His ministry He had taught them much about His death and resurrection but they seemed slow to grasp the truth. For these doubts, and also because they did not believe the testimony of those who first saw Him, Jesus reproved them.
Today, we have the testimony of these trustworthy disciples who were with Jesus for 40 days before His ascension, but there are still those who doubt His literal resurrection; and as then, a great number of these are found among the ones who profess to be His disciples.
We know that Christian faith rests upon the resurrection of Jesus; for if Christ is not risen from the dead, faith is in vain. Our salvation, our Christian walk, and, above all, our hope of attaining to the first resurrection depend upon Christ's resurrection. He arose, the firstfruits of our resurrection. If He is not risen, we have no hope whatsoever; we are still in our sins; pardoning grace is unknown to man; and the hope of eternal life merely a superstition ([1 Corinthians:15:17]).
In studying a lesson in the Gospels it is a good thing to read the accounts recorded in each Gospel. They were not written from the same viewpoint, but agree in a manner, which shows that they were inspired by God Himself. Because of these different accounts we Have a better understanding of the incidents than we would if only one person had recorded them.
In the Jewish method of recording time, any fraction of a 24 hour day was referred to and counted as a whole day, or a "day and a night." Jesus was crucified at 9 o'clock Friday morning and died about 3 o'clock that afternoon. The Jewish day ended at sundown, but nevertheless, these few remaining hours are referred to as a whole day. Jesus arose early Sunday morning, and this portion of the day, from sundown the evening before, was also counted as a whole day. Jesus, therefore, was dead for what the Jews call "three days and nights."
The Jews were very particular about keeping the details of the law, and the traditions that they had added to it. In order that the crucified might be taken down from the cross before the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to hasten the death of the three by breaking their legs. Pilate granted their request, but the soldiers found Jesus already dead. The Roman soldiers did not know, but the Jews should have known, that the Scriptures said that not a bone of His should be broken ([John:19:36]). One of them pierced His side, and Blood and water came out.
The whole world is guilty of Jesus' death He was tried by the high priest, who represented the Jews; being brought there by the scribes and Pharisees, also Jews. He could not be put to death without a trial by the Roman authority, so He was brought before Pilate. The soldiers carried out the orders of their Gentile commander. His tomb was guarded by both Jew and Gentile, since the Pharisees requested that a guard be placed there to prevent His body from being taken; and the Gentile soldiers represented the military power of the world. The stone was sealed with the Roman seal, the signature of a world power. Taking with them sweet spices for anointing the body, the two Marys and Salome went there, not with the expectation of meeting their risen Lord, but to anoint His blessed body and to mourn His departure.
When they came, they saw the broken seal and opened tomb. The soldiers who had been on guard were gone. The women did not know about the earthquake. They did not know, as yet, that the angel that spoke to them had come down to roll the stone away. For fear of this angel, with his flashing face and dazzling garments, the soldiers fell to the ground and later fled from the spot they were told to guard. But the angel reassured the women, telling them that Jesus was not there, for He had risen.
In obedience to the angel's command, the women went to tell the other disciples; and Peter and John came to the tomb and saw for themselves. After this, Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene. She did not recognise Him at first, but, supposing Him to be the gardener, asked where the body of Jesus had been taken. It seems that it was almost impossible for her to accept the fact that Jesus was no longer dead; but when He spoke to her and called her by name she realised it was true, and addressed Him "Rabboni" -- Master. Matthew tells us that Jesus met the women and greeted them. They clasped His feet, worshiping Him.
The Bible says that Jesus was in "the heart of the earth" between His death and resurrection. Some think He went to the realm of the dead and preached to those who lived before the flood.
Since He arose on the first day of the week, which is our Sunday, and because the resurrection of our Lord is so important for faith and salvation, we Christians observe the Lord's Day, or the first day of the week, as our Sabbath. The seventh day of the week had been observed as the Sabbath, since it was set aside by God when He created the world, and instituted as such in the Law given to the Children of Israel on Mount Sinai.
We have evidence that Jesus set His approval on the fist day of the week as the day for worship. Several times He appeared to the disciples when they were together on that day. By appearing among them, and blessing them, He let them know that He approved of their worship of Him on that day. We know from our own experience that He has put His approval upon it, for we have the memory of the many times of blessing when His presence was very real among us -- almost as real as He was to the disciples as they gathered in their rooms, behind bolted doors for fear of the Jews, to worship Him and to recall the days they spent with Him during His ministry.
The fact that Jesus had a glorified body after His resurrection is clearly stated in this lesson. It is an example of the body that will be given God's children when they answer the resurrection call and go to be with the Lord. He had flesh and bones; He ate food, talked, and reasoned with His disciples; yet He appeared to them in rooms where the doors were barred. After talking with them, He vanished from their sight. In addition, He knew their thoughts and conversations when He was absent. Some of these qualities are present now only in the Godhead and may never be given to us, but Jesus' glorified body is an example of the one we shall have if we are faithful to the end.
Jesus said, "I am the resurrection, and the life." It was not hard for Him to restore a person to life again. He merely gave a command and it was done. It will not make any difference where our place is, or what is our manner of death: whether by natural causes or by drowning, burning, or being torn by wild animals. When that power laden, life giving Voice calls out, "Come forth," all the dead of all ages will rise to stand before Him, the Judge of all the earth -- each in his own order, "Some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt" (Daniel:12:2). What a glorious hope for the overcomes!
1. Who buried Jesus after His death, and where was the tomb?
2. Who prepared the body for its burial, and what precautions were made to prevent the body from being stolen?
3. Upon whom does the guilt for Jesus' crucifixion rest?
4. Who of the followers of Jesus first saw their risen Lord?
5. Which of the Apostles went to the tomb first?
6. To what group did He make His first public appearance?
7. Why do we worship on Sunday instead of Saturday?
8. What did Jesus say about those who did not see Him after His resurrection but who nevertheless believed it?
9. Why is the resurrection of Jesus important to us?
10. How many days was Jesus on earth after His resurrection?