Handout: The Resurrection
This Easter I want us to reflect upon the resurrection of Christ and its significance to us. We should reflect on this everyday, but today is a special day in which we celebrate the risen Christ. May our heart’s burn with passion for the Risen Lord as we take a tour of the scriptures and the ones that were witness to the events before and after Christ arose.
Picture it with your spiritual eyes for a moment with me as we journey through the life of Christ on this earth. Jesus has been born. A sweet little baby in a manger, he has grown up working and has been walking in the world. He has called his disciples to follow him. He has been doing many miracles the past few years. He has healed the sick of various diseases, he has opened blinded eyes, made the lame to walk, and brought the dead back to the life. For a moment imagine that you have been walking with him during this time and witnessed all the things he has been doing. You have been with him as he taught the Sermon on the Mount of Olives, with him as he taught in the temple. You have heard with your ears the very voice of the Darling Lamb of God teaching the words of life.
In this group is Peter, Andrew, James, John. Also in this group there is Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, Thaddacus, Simon, and Judas Iscariot. There also are many others such as Joanna, Susanna and Mary Magdalene to whom Jesus has cast out seven devils and has changed her heart and her life completely. (Luke 8) You were there to see the multitudes that came to hear the words of Jesus, and to see as He lifted up his hands to heaven and thanked His Father then fed thousands with two fish and five loaves of bread. (Matthew 14)
This group of disciples with you, they not only just heard Jesus’ words, but they have lived among him day and night. Imagine you were there on the boat with the disciples when the great storm tossed them on the waters and suddenly Jesus came walking toward you on the sea. You saw as Peter stepped out of the boat and he walked toward Jesus, and as he sank, Christ lovingly lifted him up saving him. (Matthew 14) Imagine you were there as he stopped the crowd from stoning the woman caught in the act of adultery.
You saw as he stooped down and wrote in the sand. You were there when he said Woman, where are thine accusers? Does no man condemn you? Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more. (John 8:10) You were there to see the wonderful changes in the ones touched by this man. You watched as the Samaritan woman ran joyously to tell others that she had just talked to The Messiah and that he had told her everything she had ever done. (John 4) Imagine you were an onlooker as Jesus with righteous anger and passion drove out the money changers for making a mockery of His Father’s house making it a house of merchandise. (John 2)
Imagine you were there to see the eyes of the little children when placed his hands on them and prayed for them and he said suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19:14) Think about how his face shined with glory as he came up out of the water after being baptized by John in the Jordan river, with the Spirit of God lighting upon him as God said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. (Matthew 3:16)
Imagine you’ve witnessed all these things and in a world that has been hopeless and in a place of oppression under Roman rule, here is this Man, Jesus. He has finally come, the Messiah spoken of by the prophets of old, the hope of the world, the Salvation of God here, alive, walking, and teaching among you. What joy and peace has filled the hearts of those that have believed upon Him.
(Matthew 26) Move along with me in time as we are now quiet spectators of Jesus and his twelve disciples as they sit for their meal. It’s the evening of the Passover. Everyone is eating. You notice the earnest expression of the face of Jesus as he begins to speak. Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me, he says. Everyone suddenly is full of sorrow and asks Lord is it me? Jesus replies, he that dips his hand with me in the dish the same shall betray me. The Son of man goes as it is written of him but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It had been good for that man if he had not been born. Chills run up your spine as you observe the gaze between the eyes of Judas and the Lord as Judas asks, Master, is it I? Jesus replies Thou hast said. Jesus begins to speak again, his voice as serious as before as he blesses the bread and breaks it. Take and eat he says, this is my body. The room is silent as he takes the cup and gives thanks then gives it to his disciples and says Drink ye all of it; for it is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. Jesus continues, but I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s Kingdom.”
You listen intently as they begin to sing a hymn. The Lords voice with melody in pure praise of his Father. Afterward going out to the Mount of Olives we listen as Jesus begins to tell his disciples that they will be scattered this very night because of things to come. Hear the passion and sincerity in Peter’s voice as he said No Lord! I will never leave you even if everyone else does, and the perplexity in Peter’s expression as the Lord replies Peter, before the rooster crows you will deny me three times. Later in the garden of Gethsemane we linger silently above as Jesus falls on his face in deep sorrow as prays in great agony to the Father about the things in which he is soon to endure as some of his disciples lay sleeping. Alone he cries out to God in full submission to His will.
Suddenly, you hear the sound of a great multitude of people coming closer. They have swords and staves. Judas greets Jesus and kisses him. The gaze you observed before at the Passover meal between the two is there yet again. Jesus says to him, Friend, what did you come to do?
What is happening!? They have laid their hands on Jesus to take him away. We watch in horror because there is nothing to stop them. Peter pulls his sword and swings it at one of the men’s head. The man ducks but the sword cuts off his right ear. The man screeches in pain but is soon amazed as Jesus touches his ear, and heals him telling Peter to put his sword away that he has the power to call twelve legions of angels to rescue him if he so desired, but these things must come to pass in order for him to fulfill God’s purpose for his coming.
We are aware as the disciples flee in fear for their lives and Jesus is led away by the mob to endure an illegal trial. Witnesses falsely accuse him and they say that he is guilty of death. Pilate tries to just punish him and let him go, but the crowd, they want him dead. Peter stands outside waiting to see what is going to happen when a maid speaks up saying; you are one of the men that was with Jesus. Peter argues that he doesn’t know what she is talking about and he moves away. Another comes and confirms yes you are one of the men in the company of Jesus, again Peter with oath denies that he knows Jesus. Yet a third time when another says the same, Peter begins to curse and swear that he doesn’t know Jesus. Immediately we hear the loud crow of the rooster. Peter’s eyes fill with tears at the realization at what he has just done. He remembers the words of Jesus. Our hearts ache with his.
The mock trial has happened, we try to turn away as they spit on the face of God and as they beat him mercilessly as well as mock and slap him, but we are compelled to watch. We know that our sins as well as the sins of the whole world are the reason for this atrocity. The beautiful face of the Hope of Life is marred beyond recognition. He doesn’t even look human anymore. They have forced him to walk the long pathway to Calvary in shame as the people cry out for his blood. There following behind is Mary Magdalene. She has stayed close by. Her distressed countenance gives a glimpse of the hopelessness in her heart. We long to run to Jesus’ rescue as he falls under the weight of the cross, but we can do nothing.
Jesus lays upon the cross, his hands and feet are tied down as the nails are positioned in place. The ringing of the hammer resounds in our heads and in our humanity we cry out simultaneously for this to stop, but it rings on. With each pounding of the hammer into the nails, we think of Colossians 2:13-14.
When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.
The hammering stops and the cross is lifted high for all to see as Jesus hangs in agony and in shame. He prays to God, Father please forgive them, they don’t know what they are doing. There are two criminals being crucified along with him. One of them is mocking Jesus along with the ones who crucify them. The other rebukes the mocker and asks Jesus, to remember him. Even in his torture, Jesus in his love saves the believer. Oh what love he has bestowed on that of humanity!
The earth is filled with darkness from about noon to three in the afternoon as the sins of the whole world are piled upon Jesus. We know that The Father in his righteousness can not look at this scene. Jesus feeling the most pain from the separation from his Father cries out with a broken heart, My God, My God why have you forsaken me? Jesus cries out again as he still fully trusts His Father. Father, into your hands I commend my spirit. It is finished, as he dies.
The whole earth begins to shake and quake and tremble as God holds back his power to destroy all mankind for what his beloved son has just endured but in his love instead he rips the veil of the temple which had separated him from his creation from top to bottom.
We see as Joseph of Arimathaea takes the body of Christ off the cross. Tears run down his face and ours as he carries the body of his beloved teacher to his own tomb and lays him there. He then rolls a great stone to the door of the sepulcher, and leaves in sadness. There is nothing more he can do. There sitting against the sepulcher is Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary in despair.
What was to happen now? Jesus had said he was The Messiah, he said he would set up his kingdom and the oppression of the Jews would be over. He was supposed to save them. They think back at the things that have just happened and at the things Jesus had said and it just doesn’t fit together in their minds. All hope seems lost. Mary Magdalene wants so much to do something, one last service for her Lord by anointing his body, but she has to wait because it is the Sabbath. The seconds turn to minutes and the minutes to hours as time goes by so slowly. The fate of the world hangs in the balance as the greatest war between death and life rages on in the realm of the unseen. The Angels in heaven have stood by this whole time in shock watching as the Prince of Peace has been abused and beaten and murdered. They waited ready to rush to him with just one twitch of allowance from God. The tomb has been sealed shut for the murderers fear that Jesus’ body would be stolen by the disciples.
Finally, after what seems like an eternity, the Sabbath is over and very early in the morning Mary Magdalene and the other Mary go to the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body. They walk along with heavy hearts when suddenly there is an earthquake. Walk along with the women we reach the tomb, but wait, the stone is not in place, the seal has been broken and it has been rolled away! You can see the angel, shining like lightening as he sits upon the stone. The keepers of the tomb are as dead men with fear. The angel says, don’t be afraid, I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified but He isn’t here, for he is risen just as he said. Come and see the place where The Lord lay, then go quickly and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead! Praise the Lord He is alive!!! Never to die again! HE IS RISEN! We rejoice.
Jesus has done everything that he said he would do. He has fulfilled the purpose of why he came. If it had not been for the resurrection, all the other things would have not mattered as far as humanity being lost in their sins without hope. When Christ arose he conquered death, hell, and the grave. Not only for himself, but for we who believe and accept him. We can be confident that he will accomplish all the other things he promised. The resurrection shows that the living Christ is the ruler of God’s eternal Kingdom, not a false prophet or imposter that died but could not raise himself up. We who have believed and accepted Christ as our Savior can rest assure of our own resurrection because of Jesus’ resurrection. Hallelujah! We know that we will live forever. Death of this body is not the end. It is the beginning of eternal life with Christ. Jesus is more than just a human leader. He is the Son of God! Praise God, the tomb was empty then and it is still empty now…CHRIST LIVES! Praise His Holy name!
We can now go boldly to the throne of God and grace and we can bring our petitions before Him and trust that He will hear and answer. He is our Father!
Dear one if you have received Christ into your heart, rejoice. For your name is written forever in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Nothing can separate you from the Love of God which is in Christ Jesus. However, if you have not accepted and believed in Christ as your own personal Savior, You can do that now. He will turn no one away who sincerely calls out to Him.
All you must do is believe, confess, and ask. We have been on an imaginative journey in this lesson. I will ask you now to just imagine Jesus standing in front of you ready to save your soul from the evil one and from hell. Just believe in Him. Believe that he is the Son of God and that he came to earth, was born of a virgin, he lived and he died so that you could be forgiven and have an intimate relationship with God to eternal life in Heaven. Confess your sins and ask Him to forgive all of them even the ones you can’t remember. Then ask Him to come into your heart and save you from your sins. Invite him to be the Lord of your life and help you live and follow him. Ask for that peace that only He can give. Then know in faith and believe that he has heard you and will save you and thank him. In your own words you can do this. He will hear your faintest cry beloved. Then follow Him. The Holy Spirit will guide you.
Romans 10:13 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
There are no limits, it doesn’t matter what you have done in the past. God’s word states whosoever, that means all. Jesus loves you unconditionally even if you have done the worst of sins. He will forgive you if you ask and believe.
John 6:37 “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”
He will cleanse you from all unrighteousness and make you a new creation, giving you a new and fresh beginning. You can start over in Christ. Don’t turn him away because you are in love with your own ideas or wrong beliefs. Research this for yourself and accept his free gift of salvation before it is everlasting to late. Jesus died and was resurrected for you and me. The work is finished. Don’t make it complicated. All you have to do is receive it. It’s yours if you want it. It’s up to you.
1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
John 3:16 “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.”
Reminder: Remember to love and serve others in the attitude of Christ.
Dear Righteous Father,
We thank you this day for the plan of Salvation. Thank you for being our Sovereign God and for sending your darling Son into the world to suffer so that we could have life. Father we understand that we are not worthy, but we are eternally grateful for your love, grace, and mercy. Please help us to edify your Son every day that we live and help us to ever remember the sacrifice that Jesus made for the world in accordance to Your will. Help us never forget the price that was paid on Calvary’s hill so that we might be saved from the wrath to come. We ask that you help us to celebrate and worship always in our hearts the gift in which Christ freely gave. Thank you, Lord Jesus for dying for my sins and for giving me an opportunity of relationship with our Father and for your indwelling Holy Spirit that will never leave or forsake me. I ask that you help me always follow in your way so that I can do the things that are pleasing to your heart. Father, I ask for all those that will read and hear this message of the gospel and that you will ignite your fire inside and give all a zeal and passion to serve you. I also ask that if there are those who do not know your Son that you send the Holy Spirit to convict their hearts in love so that they believe and accept your Darling Son. Thank you, Lord for hearing and answering our prayers. Thank you for watching over, protecting, and providing for us yet another week. Thank you for your ever present comfort. All the honor and glory be to your lovely name. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.
March 31, 2013