John 1:12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God
God sent His light into the world in the form of His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus was the radiance of the glory of God, the exact imprint of His nature (Hebrews 1:3), and yet when He ministered here on earth people rejected Him. Even though He had existed since before time (John 1:1) and created the world (Hebrews 1:2), the people didn’t see Him for what He was and many made the wrong choice by not following the true Light. They chose darkness.
You and I are given the same choice today – to receive the light, Jesus, or to reject Him. To those who receive Him, that is not only to believe in His existence but to believe that He brings life through salvation by His death and resurrection, God promises the right to become His own children.
He will bring you into His family if you believe that God became a man and lived a perfect, sinless life, one you and I could never live, and that Jesus died to take the penalty for our sins and He raised back to life so that we can have life. Do you believe this? Have you chosen the Light over the darkness? Now’s your chance.
Mark 16:1-8 1 When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him.2 And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb.3 And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?”4 And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large.5 And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed.6 And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him.7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.”8 And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.
Are you looking for Jesus? Does it seem to be a lost cause; a search that will never produce any results? Maybe you’re looking in the wrong place. Jesus isn’t in the tomb. He is risen.
Sometimes we have a tendency to make up our own theology, our own doctrine that we think fits our beliefs better than what the Bible actually says. We make up traits for Jesus that were never true of Him. We create our own false Jesus. But the power of the gospel to save lies in the truth of who Jesus Christ really is and what He really did.
It’s hard to swallow, the fact that God came down to earth in the form of a human man and that He lived a perfect life. It’s harder still to believe that He would sacrifice His own life in place of ours so that we can be reconciled to God. Hardest of all to grasp is the idea that He rose again from the dead. That He lives even still today, reigning over all things. But that’s our hope. Without it we have nothing.
The hope you and I have that we can one day be with God through resurrection is the fact that Jesus was resurrected from the dead. If our Savior is dead, then we’re doomed. But if our Savior lives, then we too can live on forever. Since He DOES live, we have hope that we can cling to. Jesus’ resurrection is a truth that changes everything.
Luke 24:21a But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel…
Have you ever looked back on something in your life and realized how foolish you looked for not seeing what was right in front of you? The story in Luke’s account of the Gospel about two disciples who were talking while they traveled, just days after Jesus’ death on the cross, makes one wonder just how foolish they felt as they looked back at their encounter with Jesus.
As they walked along sulking that this man they had followed, who that had placed their trust in as the promised Messiah, the one who would redeem His people Israel, the resurrected Jesus actually joined them. These two of His disciples recounted the story of Jesus’ crucifixion to Him (because they didn’t recognize Him as being Jesus) and expressed lament over the fact that He hadn’t lived up to their hopes. We look back now and wonder how on earth the risen Lord could have disappointed anyone’s hopes, but these Jewish men had been awaiting a Messiah who would establish an earthly kingdom to save them from their oppressors and Jesus did not do that. No, instead He was killed by those oppressors. This fell short of what they had wanted from Him.
But Jesus came to do so much more than just save Israel from an oppressive government. He came to bring reconciliation with God, to all, Jews and Gentiles alike. But the men didn’t know this yet because they were so focused on their own expectations. Can’t we do that sometimes? Don’t we sometimes expect God to answer us in some small way and when we don’t see it we get all upset with Him, when really there’s a much bigger blessing in store if we’d only open our eyes? The guys in this story opened their eyes and eventually saw Jesus for who He was and what He came to do. That’s hope for all of us.
Passage: Matthew 28:1-10
Key verses: Matthew 28:6 He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.
1 Corinthians 15:14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.
The truth about the work of Christ on the cross, the forgiveness of our sins, and our reconciliation with God is that it all means nothing if our God is still lying in a tomb. Jesus can’t mediate between God and man if He’s dead. If His death is the end, then we’re no better off.
But – our God lives. He isn’t dead. Death couldn’t hold Him. Hell couldn’t defeat Him. He is risen. He lives. And because He lives, we live. Jesus’ departure back into heaven is hope for us all that we’ll be resurrected as well, taken from this life into the next, never to die again. But it means something now too.
Because Jesus departed, God sent the Holy Spirit to live within us. His departure means we now act on His behalf as Christians, and He’s empowered us to do so. No other religion on earth can make these claims because no other religion has a living Savior. We have a God so loving that He would sacrifice His Son in our place, and that God is so powerful that death cannot be the end for Him. HE IS RISEN!