Matthew 28:1–3; Mark 16:1–20; Luke 24:1–49; John 20:1–31
Just this week I watched a program that featured an interviewer on the streets of New York who was asking random passersby what holiday was coming up this weekend. More than 50% of the people had no clue. They gave answers such as Memorial Day, Father’s Day…even the Fourth of July! Some did say Easter, but, when asked to explain what Easter was, only about three of the many people interviewed gave answers that spoke of the Resurrection.
At first that short segment made me laugh at some of the answers given, but only for a second. Sadness moved in quickly. How could the most important event in all of history not be clearly understood by more people?
The resurrection of Jesus is central to the celebration of Easter, but less than half of adult Americans link the two. The Barna Group found that only 42% of adults tied Easter to the Resurrection. Adults aged 18 through 25 did the worst. David Kinnaman, president of the Barna Group, said, “The Easter holiday in particular still has a distinctly religious connection for people, but the specifics of it are really fading in a lot of people’s minds.” And this research is six years old, so the figure is likely less than 42% now. Source: The Houston Chronicle, March 18, 2010
Why is the resurrection of Jesus Christ important? What does the Resurrection mean to you and me?
Jesus said “…I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?” John 11:25–26.
The Resurrection is the heart of Christianity, the pinnacle—the high point—of all events that occurred concerning the Church and every Christian!
The fact that Jesus rose from the dead:
- Testifies of the immense power of God himself. One writer said it this way: “To believe in the Resurrection is to believe in God. If God exists, and if He created the universe and has power over it, He has power to raise the dead. If He does not have such power, He is not a God worthy of our faith and worship. Only He who created life can resurrect it after death” (see I Corinthians 15:54–55). In resurrecting Jesus from the grave, God reminds us of His absolute sovereignty and power over life and death.
- Confirms Jesus’ claim that He is “…the way, the truth, and the life…” as He states in John 14:6. Jesus had told the disciples in advance that He would rise again on the third day after His death. Jesus did indeed rise from the dead. “And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said…” Matthew 28:5–6 (see Events on Resurrection Day below).
- Offers new life in Christ right now! “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” John 3:16–17. “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand. By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” I Corinthians 15:1–4.
- Gives us hope for the future. “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also” John 14:18–19. The good news is that those who are in Christ can expect their own resurrection from the dead and life with God for eternity. “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?”
I Corinthians 15:55.
You can’t keep the God-Man down! “He is not here: for he is risen, as he said…” Matthew 28:6.
Events on Resurrection Day
- Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome go to the tomb (Mark 16:1–2; Luke 23:55–24:1)
- The women discover that the great stone that had sealed the tomb is rolled away (Luke 24:2)
- The women draw near and see the angel (Matthew 28:1–5)
- Mary Magdalene goes to tell the disciples that the Lord’s body is gone (John 20:1–2)
- Peter and John arrive and see the empty tomb; Peter goes in, then both depart (John 20:3–10)
- Mary Magdalene returns to the tomb weeping; she sees two angels and then Jesus (John 20:11–16)
- The risen Christ bids Mary Magdalene go and tell the disciples that she has seen Him (John 20:17–18)
- Mary (the mother of James) and the other women who have taken the prepared burial spices to the tomb are perplexed (Luke 24:1–4)
- The women see two angels at the tomb and hear their message (Luke 24:4–7; Matthew 28:6)
- The women leave quickly to tell the disciples that Jesus is risen (Matthew 28:7–8)
- On their way to find the disciples, the women are met by the risen Christ (Matthew 28:9–10)
Post-Resurrection Appearances of Jesus to…
- Mary Magdalene – John 20:14–18; Mark 16:9
- The women returning from the tomb – Matthew 28:8–10
- Peter later on Resurrection Day – Luke 24:34; 1 Corinthians 15:5
- The disciples walking to Emmaus in the evening – Luke 24:13–31
- The disciples (except Thomas) – Luke 24:36–45; John 20:19–24
- The disciples a week later (with Thomas present) – John 20:24–29
- Seven disciples by the Lake of Tiberias in Galilee – John 21:1–23
- The disciples at the mount called Olivet and the Ascension – Acts 1:3–12
- The apostles and 500 believers – 1 Corinthians 15:6
- James – 1 Corinthians 15:7
- Paul near Damascus – Acts 9:3–6; 1 Corinthians 15:8
- Stephen outside Jerusalem – Acts 7:55
- Paul in the temple – Acts 22:17–21; 23:11
- John on the island of Patmos – Revelation 1:10–19
Source: Merrill F. Unger, The New Unger’s Bible Handbook, revised by Gary N. Larson, Moody Press, Chicago, 1984, pp. 397–398.
Happy Resurrection Sunday! Worship together, enjoy this special day, and share the good news with others!
— by Pastor Greg Joyner