RESURRECTION DAY JOY
SUNDAY RESURRECTION, BUT OUR SATURDAY NIGHT
Matthew 28:1 (KJV)
1 In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.
Saturday night, shortly after 6 p.m., Jesus was resurrected. Sunday for the Jews began at 6 p m on Saturday night. If Jesus' body had been in the tomb, Saturday night, that would have been four nights for His spirit to be in the ' heart of the earth'. Jesus' body was in the tomb, Wednesday night, Thursday night, and Friday night. His body was there Thursday day, Friday day, and Saturday day. Fulfilling prophecy. Jesus' resurrection is celebrated Sundays, because He was found on Sunday morning about sunrise. The grave was already empty, He was already out of the tomb.
Matthew 12:40 (KJV)
40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
THE EARLY CHURCH PREACHED THIS RESURRECTION
Paul was taken to Mars Hill. This place where he went was the Areopagus. It was meant to be a visit where the Greek philosophers would intimidate him, and prove his teaching to be false. Paul gave a wise defense of the resurrection message, and left them speechless. The message still today has the devil and all his cohorts speechless.
Acts 17:16-34 (KJV)
16 Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry.
17 Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him.
18 Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection.
19 And they took him, and brought him unto Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is?
20 For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears: we would know therefore what these things mean.
21 (For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.)
22 Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars' hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.
23 For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.
24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;
25 Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;
26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after Him, and find Him, though He be not far from every one of us:
28 For in Him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.
29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device.
30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:
31 Because He hath appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world in righteousness by that man Whom He hath ordained; whereof He hath given assurance unto all men, in that He hath raised Him from the dead
32 And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter.
33 So Paul departed from among them.
34 Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed: among the which was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.
This happened at the place that 500 years prior, Socrates had faced charges and been executed. It was a hillside with bookseller stalls, seats, steps. The Stoics, Epicureans, and Sophists would come and argue philosophy. There were also there the various statues of known ‘gods’ of the different religions. These idols were there to salve their consciences, for while they differed on many debate issues, they did not want to offend any ‘god’, lest they face judgment.
Paul saw all these false gods, all these idols of no power, and felt quite like some of us do at Christmas, where we see decorations of Santa, reindeer, and elves. At Easter, we see bunnies, colored eggs , and baskets of candy. We often want to interrupt those around and say, LET ME TELL YOU THE REAL TRUTH.
Paul wanted to tell them of the Resurrected Lord, the One Who guarantees us a resurrection also. We cannot be apathetic, uncaring, too entangled with false and trite customs that we forget the real meaning of this Christianity in which we are.
Paul preached this message of resurrection, to the philosophers of that day. They were left speechless and decided to come back another time to finish the debate. The resurrection message is a powerful one, the devil still has not found an answer for.
THE DEVIL’S ATTEMPT TO DISTRACT FROM THE MESSAGE OF RESURRECTION
The Easter eggs may do no harm, but at best they fill one’s stomach. The Resurrection Lord, and what He did for us, is a message that needs preached from the rooftops. We cannot be content to smile and walk on when we see the corrupted message of the Resurrection celebration. Resurrection day challenges the idea of a self sufficiency, for we cannot do without our Risen Lord, and the glorious resurrection He has made possible for us.
Cain wanted his own way. Esau wanted his stomach filled. Sodom wanted sexual perversion. Balaam wanted the payment for cursing Israel. Ahab wanted Jezebel’s way. Judas wanted 30 pieces of silver. Ananias and Sapphira wanted to hold back some money. Diotrephes wanted pre-eminence. What do we want?
David was a ‘man after God’s own heart.’ He wanted to know God’s thoughts, God’s feelings. That was an awesome ‘want’. Yet, the Lord revealed prophetically, in the Psalms, many of the thoughts of God for the ages. We need to examine our ‘wants’ and see if we are wanting what God wants for us.
We celebrate the resurrection every Sunday. The ‘resurrection’ is why we celebrate on Sunday, not on Saturday. On Sunday morning, they found the resurrected Lord Jesus. We meet to worship on that time, every week, to meet with Jesus again and again.
Jesus was the ‘firstfruits’ of our resurrection. Jesus was the ‘corn of wheat’ planted, that has resulted in many corns of wheat now awaiting resurrection life.
The people on Mars Hill, may have wanted to distract Paul from the resurrection message with all the ‘gods’ of that place. But Paul was not distracted, he still preached ‘resurrection power.’
THE DEVIL’S LEAST FAVORITE DAY
Easter Sunday, as it is called, is the devil’s least favorite day.
1 Corinthians 2:7-8 (KJV)
7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
The devil made his worst mistake long ago, when he had Jesus crucified. For on the third day following, Jesus walked from the tomb, alive and able to give all of us eternal resurrection life.
Did you ever have a day you dreaded? A doctor’s appointment, a dentist trip, an anniversary of a terrible event, April 15th tax day, etc? can be a time of dreading such day. The devil can top all our dreaded days. The resurrection day, and the celebration of it every Sunday, and Easter Sunday especially.
Long ago, one Saturday evening, after Jesus had been in paradise for three days and three nights, the Holy Spirit and Michael show up, and roll away a stone from the tomb. They sat upon it as Jesus began to walk about, anxious to show Himself to His scared disciples.
Those watching the tomb fell in a faint. The women come and worship at Jesus’ feet. The guards flee to tell the chief priests. A conspiracy of lying about what happened is concocted. The first gospel message is preached by a woman (Mary Magdalene) when she carried the resurrection sermon to the disciples.
RESURRECTION POWER WAS BELIEVED BY MANY
Abraham believed in resurrection power.
Hebrews 11:17-19 (KJV)
17 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,
18 Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called:
19 Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.
Job believed in resurrection power.
Job 19:25-27 (KJV)
25 For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:
26 And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:
27 Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.
David believed in resurrection power.
Acts 2:29-31 (KJV)
29 Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.
30 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;
31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.
Martha believed in resurrection power.
John 11:23-24 (KJV)
23 Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.
24 Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.
There were many resurrections recorded in the Bible. Lazarus was resurrected by Jesus. Paul was stoned, went to paradise, was resurrected to new life to finish his work. The boy that Elijah resurrected is said to be Habakkuk. The boy that Elisha resurrected is said to have been Joel. Jesus resurrected a young girl, and a son of a woman. A man’s dead body was thrown on Elisha’s bones, and the man was resurrected.
THE SHOCKING BLESSINGS OF RESURRECTION POWER
Resurrection shocks people. Mary ran to tell the disciples. Peter and John ran back to verify what they were told. Sorrow changed to joy, because of resurrection.
Pardon is a blessing of the resurrection.
Romans 4:24-25 (KJV)
24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;
25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
Peace is a blessing of the resurrection.
John 20:19-20 (KJV)
19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.
20 And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.
Purity is a blessing of the resurrection.
Romans 6:4-6 (KJV)
4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
Power is a blessing of the resurrection.
Ephesians 1:19-20 (KJV)
19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,
20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,
The presence of Jesus is a blessing of the resurrection.
Matthew 28:20 (KJV)
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Many gifts come as a blessing of the resurrection.
Ephesians 4:8-9 (KJV)
8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.
9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?
JESUS DOCUMENTED, BEFORE AND AFTER, THE EVENT OF RESURRECTION
Psalm 16:10 (KJV)
10 For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
Matthew 12:40 (KJV)
40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
Hebrews 2:14-15 (KJV)
14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
Therefore, the resurrection of Jesus proved the deity of Jesus. The resurrection established the authority of the Lord Jesus. The resurrection demonstrated how the atonement comes to us. The resurrection proved we will too be resurrected to new life. The resurrection proves we have a Savior, Who ‘ever liveth to make intercession for us.’ (Hebrews 7:25)
JESUS IS THE RESURRECTION AND LIFE
I know that Jesus is the resurrection and life. Yet, as I saw those words, they took on a new dimension, a new way to see this truth.
"Jesus said unto her, I am the Resurrection and the Life."
Does Jesus have resurrection power and life for us? We tend to say ‘Yes’, but that is not what He said here. What He said, is not that ‘I have resurrection and life’, but He said, "I am the Resurrection and the Life’.
It is what He is, not just what He does. "I am" shows us that He is resurrection and life, personified.
Jesus said "I am’ often. In fact it is the meaning of Jah, one of His names. It is part of Jehovah, which literally means "I am, I was, I will be". He is divine, and "I am" is a divine name.
When Moses asked by what name should he go and release Israel from bondage, the Lord told Him that the "I Am" had sent him.
Jesus is telling Martha, in the above verse, that resurrection and life, is not merely of divine origin, but it is the divine nature.
"I am the Resurrection and the Life" is said in most funeral services. And it is not just a claim to Jesus having that power. But that He is Resurrection and Life.
Mary and Martha came to realize something more of Jesus in this episode. Both said, "if You had been here, Lazarus would not have died." So they knew that Jesus had healing power. But Jesus says, I am more. "I am RESURRECTION and LIFE".
Lazarus was ‘sick unto death’ when they sent for Jesus. Yet, Jesus delayed purposely, and by the time Jesus arrived from the trip that should have just been hours, it was four days after Lazarus’ death.
Jesus knew beforehand what had happened (John 11:14).
It was a sorrowful meeting for Mary and Martha. For their hopes were faded, following the death. They had faith enough that Jesus could have handled it, had He arrived before death. Yet, death to them was greater than Jesus. When Jesus told Martha, that He is Resurrection and Life, she expressed a belief in the resurrection of the last day. (John 6:39, 44-45)
Martha said that perhaps God would do the miracle of resurrection
if Jesus prayed. But Jesus said, I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE.
Resurrection is more than a tenet of our faith. It is a fact, and better than that, it is a Person. Jesus did not say, "I raise the dead." He did at times raise the dead. (Luke 7:12-14, 8:49-50) Yet, He said, "I AM... resurrection and life".
Man becomes immortal, when he comes into union with this Jesus. Jesus in not just ‘resurrection’ for resurrection pre-supposes death. Before one can be resurrected, one must die. But Jesus said, also, that "I am ... LIFE"
Once we come into Jesus, and He abides in us, we already have eternal life.
Our spirit will live forever. Our body may die, but we have life, and our spirit lives eternally. Even when physical death claims the body, our spirit continues in Life, for we have Jesus.
Resurrection is triumph over death. Life continues to maintain our spirit, and it is not affected by the temporary cessation of life in the body. All believers have a promise of both resurrection and life, resurrection for the body, life for the spirit.
The spirit is untouched by death, even the ‘second death’ which is separation from God, and only those without Jesus suffer it. We, when death takes the body, actually come into new life, for we are even closer to God, we are ushered into His presence.
‘To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord."
Now, we have Jesus as ‘Emmanuel’ (God with us). Yet, death of the body, means greater ‘Emmanuel’ presence, for we go literally to His manifest presence.
All true life is in Christ. Without Him we are really dead. There are many corpses walking about that do not have life, for they do not have Jesus.
Some of these are in churches, for they are ‘dead in trespasses and sins’
and that death is more real and actual, than for a saint to have his/her body die.
We have, as Christians, live spirits, that live, in a real, true way, in contrast to sinners, who are dead spiritually.
Every believer is in reality and forever in life. And this life is ever increasing.
Our bodies start to die, once life has come to them at birth. Yet, our spirits continue to increase in LIFE as we maintain relationship with Jesus.
To illustrate this more, the Bible shows us that two companies participate in the rapture.
I Thess. 4:13-18 says: (Vs. 16)
‘The dead in Christ shall rise first" This speaks of the ‘dead bodies’, for the spirits do not have to rise, they are with the Lord. Jesus was the first fruits of the resurrection, and proved that this will occur as promised. For He is the resurrection, and these atoms that make up the body of a believer in Jesus, have something different about them. They may be dust and scattered to the wind, but those atoms have been permanently marked by the One we call the Resurrection. When He calls "Come up hither" those atoms will unite again, and be changed from mortal atoms to a resurrected body to be reunited with the spirit that has already been with Jesus.
The second group at the rapture are those ‘are alive and remain’. And they or we, in our mortal body will likewise hear ‘come up hither’. The LIFE Who is in us, Jesus Who has transformed our spirit to immortality, will transform this mortal body, and in a moment, one split second, will die and instantly almost become a new immortal body. We will be caught up into the clouds, catching up with the ‘dead in Christ’ who had a head start. Praise the Lord. If you do not feel like jumping right about now, you are dead. Quit reading, and roll over in your casket. But I will go on.
Paul said, "In Christ shall all be made alive."
I Cor. 15:52
The dead bodies, awake from the dust to redemption of resurrection. The live bodies at that moment, will find the body joins what the spirit already has gotten from Jesus, LIFE.
"When Christ, Who is our LIFE, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory."
When a sinner accepts Jesus as Savior, he/she becomes one with Him, and is partaker of His LIFE. We are grafted as a branch into the Vine, and that Vine has life flowing from it, into us. We are connected, and share what He is. He is RESURRECTION AND LIFE. (John 15:1-8, Gal. 2:20) We are in union with Him.
I Cor. 15:45
"the last Adam was made a quickening spirit."
I John 5:11-12
"He that hath the Son hath LIFE, He that hath not the Son of God hath not life."
Paul described the church at Sardis, and said, They ‘had a name that they lived, but were dead." (Rev. 3:1)
Jesus called the pharisees to be ‘whited sepulchers full of dead men’s bones’.
I Timothy 5:6
"She that liveth in pleasure, is dead while she liveth."
Still, if Christ Jesus is RESURRECTION AND LIFE, then for us to ’die is gain’ for it opens up the door of even more life for us. Death has not only lost its sting, it has lost its fear, its dread. We see death of the body as a step into more life. We look forward to the rapture as a triumph of LIFE AND RESURRECTION.