The Promise of the Resurrection
God shall arise, his enemies shall be scattered; and those who hate him shall flee before him! As smoke is driven away, so you shall drive them away; as wax melts before fire, so the wicked shall perish before God! But the righteous shall be glad; they shall exult before God; they shall be jubilant with joy! – Psalm 68:1-3(ESV)
We, humans, love to celebrate our victories. On Memorial Day ther are parades all over America. On July 4, there will be fireworks and concerts. We celebrate all victories: the winner of the Super Bowl, the team who emerges victorious in basketball’s March Madness, the triumphant candidate in the Presidential campaign, and our grandchild’s monstrous home run. Psalm 68 calls us to celebrate the greatest victory in the history of the world, and the glorious homecoming of the conquering Hero. (Stan Mask)
Psalm 68 begins with a description of the Resurrection of Jesus as a great victory! The enemies are conquered (sin, death and Satan—on the run!) and the righteous ones rejoice—they are provided for in this great victory. Psalm 68 predicted the resurrection of Jesus. Jesus predicted and promised His own resurrection and the resurrection of His followers. God shall arise! Christ has risen!
How did Jesus fulfill the sign of Jonah He promised in Matthew 12:39?
Praise Jesus for keeping His promise of resurrection. Ask Jesus to give you a heart of celebration this week because of what He has promised you.
The Proof of the Resurrection: The Empty Tomb
Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” – John 20:1-2 (ESV)
A missionary in Northern India was preaching in a bazaar. When he finished a Muslim gentleman walked up to him and said, ”You must admit we have one thing you have not, and it is better than anything you have.” The missionary said, ”I should be pleased to hear what it is.” The Muslim said, ”You know when we go to Mecca we at least find a coffin. But when you Christians go to Jerusalem, which is your Mecca, you find nothing but an empty grave.”(Ken Trivette)
Easter is about an empty tomb. Mary was the first to find the tomb empty. Some say Jesus wasn’t really dead, to begin with. However, if that is the case you are asking us to believe that Jesus not only fooled the Roman executioners into believing He was dead, but after lying unattended to in a cold stone tomb, He was able to wriggle out of His grave clothes, roll this huge stone up the hill, overpower the guards Pilate had placed, and then appear to His disciples as the Lord of Glory. We can travel to Israel today and see that His tomb is empty.
How does the resurrection of Jesus distinguish Christianity from all other world religions? How does it impact your faith?
Praise God for the power He displayed when Jesus was resurrected. Ask God to help you live a life that gives evidence of the power of God at work in you.
The Proof of the Resurrection: The Eyewitness Accounts
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. – 1 Corinthians 15:3-6 (ESV)
Dr. Greenleaf, the Royal Professor of Law at Harvard University, was one of the greatest legal minds that ever lived. He wrote the famous legal volume entitled, A Treatise on the Law of Evidence, considered by many the greatest legal volume ever written. Dr. Simon Greenleaf believed the Resurrection of Jesus Christ was a hoax. And he determined, once and for all, to expose the “myth” of the Resurrection. After thoroughly examining the evidence for the resurrection — Dr. Greenleaf came to the exact opposite conclusion!
He wrote a book entitled, An Examination of the Testimony of the Four Evangelists by the Rules of Evidence Administered in the Courts of Justice. In which he emphatically stated: “It was IMPOSSIBLE that the apostles could have persisted in affirming the truths they had narrated, had not JESUS CHRIST ACTUALLY RISEN FROM THE DEAD. Greenleaf concluded that according to the jurisdiction of legal evidence, the resurrection of Jesus Christ was the best-supported event in all of history! And not only that, Dr. Greenleaf was so convinced by the overwhelming evidence, he committed his life to Jesus Christ!”
When Paul wrote he was also convinced of the resurrection. In Corinthians, He wrote there were at least five hundred people who had seen Him and could bear witness to the
validity of His resurrection. It would have been easy for others to discredit these eyewitnesses on that day but they could not.
Why do you think it was so important to the Apostle Paul to remind his readers about the number of eyewitnesses to the resurrected Christ? Why is it important for us to know today?
Praise Jesus for the way He revealed Himself to the early Christians after His resurrection. Ask God to continue to reveal Himself to you in ways that grow your faith in Him.
The Proof of the Resurrection: The Existence of the Church
And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. – Matthew 21:18 (ESV)
In Tewin churchyard, a short distance from King’s Cross Station, in England, stands a great four-trunked tree growing out of a grave. The grave from which it grows is that of Lady Anne Grimston. Lady Anne Grimston did not believe in life after death. When she lay dying in her palatial home, she said to a friend, “I shall live again as surely as a tree will grow from my body.” She was buried in a marble tomb. The grave was marked by a large marble slab, and surrounded by an iron railing. Years later the marble slab was found to be moved a little. Then it cracked, and through the crack, a small tree grew. The tree continued to grow, breaking the marble masonry until today it has surrounded the tomb with its roots, and has torn the railing out of the ground with its massive trunk. The tree at Lady Anne Grimston’s grave is one of the largest in England.
If Jesus did not rise from the dead Christianity is no more authoritative than the pagan religions, unique distinctive trait of Christianity, makes it the only true faith. All other founders are dead as are their religion, not just historical and theological but personal. Jesus went on to tell Peter that the gates of hell would not be able to destroy the church. The church has been under attack for hundreds of years, yet it still thrives around the world.
How do you believe the church is under attack today? Why do you think Christianity has been able to survive all the persecution and attacks over the years?
Praise God for upholding His promise to preserve the church. Ask God to give you the strength to stand strong when opposition to your faith comes
The Power of The Resurrection
Blessed be the Lord, Who daily loads us with benefits, The God of our salvation! Selah Our God is the God of salvation; And to God the Lord belong escapes from death. – Psalm 68:19-20 (ESV)
A family lost three children to diphtheria in the same week. Only a three-year-old girl escaped the disease. On the following Easter morning, the father, mother, and child attended church. Because the father was the Sunday school superintendent, he led the session when all the classes met together. As he read the Easter message from the Bible, many were weeping, but the father and mother remained calm and serene. When Sunday school was over, a 15-year-old boy was walking home with his father. “The superintendent and his wife must really believe the Easter story,” said the boy. His father answered, “All Christians do.” “Not the way they do!” replied the young man.
Psalm 68 teaches that one of the benefits of our resurrected Savior is that believers escape death. This doesn’t mean we escape physical death, but it means we escape spiritual death and eternal separation from God. Jesus said in John 11:25, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.” That is the power of the resurrection. Psalm 68 also teaches God’s power loads us daily with benefits.
What are some daily benefits God has loaded you with? What are some eternal benefits God has promised you?
Praise God for the power of the resurrection at work in you daily and for eternity. Ask God to help you take advantage of the blessings He wants to give you now and the ones He has promised you in eternity.