Welcome to the last post in our Easter study. This week we will explore the resurrection of Jesus and its deeper meanings. How does God’s resurrection power impact our lives?
“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live’” (John 11:25 NKJV).
Let’s focus on Jesus’s resurrection in the final chapters of the four gospels. Click on each one to read: Matthew 28 / Mark 16 / Luke 24 / John 20 (NKJV)
As we read these accounts, we can feel the same amazement of Christ’s resurrection. Isn’t it interesting that the Lord first appeared to women? Following an earthquake, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary (not His mother) encountered an angel who rolled back the stone. The Roman guards froze and shook from fright at the supernatural sight.
“But the angel answered and said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you’” (Matthew 28:5-7 NKJV).
On their way, the women met Jesus who said, “‘Rejoice!’ So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me’” (Matthew 28:9b-10 NKJV).
The disciples were astounded at this news. Many found it hard to believe, although Jesus had told them many times that He would live again. Until they saw Him themselves–and Thomas placed his hand on the Lord’s side and examined His nail-scarred hands and feet–then they believed.
Resurrection means to bring back to life. During the ministry of Jesus, He raised a twelve-year-old girl from the dead (Click HERE to read Luke 8:49-56). We also know about Lazarus whom we studied about during Week 12. But, were these resurrections a harbinger of what was to happen in Jerusalem?
Parallels Between the Resurrections of Lazarus and Jesus
We might think of Lazarus’s resurrection as a miniature “dress rehearsal” for Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. Many people in Bethany believed that Jesus was the Son of God after He raised Lazarus. But multitudes believed in Him when God raised Jesus to life. Afterward, Christianity exploded.
Let’s backtrack to when Jesus stood before Lazarus’s tomb and wept. If Jesus knew He was going to resurrect Lazarus, why did He mourn? Was He simply identifying with human pain and sorrow? Or could it have had something to do with The Passion that awaited Him a few days later? He had discussed these future events with His disciples, even though they did not yet fully comprehend.
“‘Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; they will condemn Him to death, and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again’” (Matthew 20:18-19 NKJV).
Just as Jesus wept at Lazarus’s tomb, do you think God may have also wept at His Son’s tomb? God knew He would resurrect His Son, but that’s not why He wept. As a matter of fact, this was the first and only time the Trinity had separated. Jesus–the Word who became flesh and dwelt among us–had to suffer and die in our place. The Lamb of God bore our sins, and God had to turn His face away, for a holy God cannot look on sin. Their brief time of separation, full of sorrow and tears, must have been very dark for God the Father and God the Holy Spirit.
However, on the third day up from the grave Christ arose! What victory and rejoicing on heaven and earth! Through His work on the cross, our dead souls sleeping in sin can now awaken to newness of life. Christ’s resurrection power lives in all believers and makes us new creations in Christ Jesus. How amazing!
Christ’s Resurrection Power Deep in our Souls
Just as Lazarus was buried in a tomb, do we bury our pain and sorrows deep inside our souls? We stuff them away, roll a stone to seal it up for good, and then try our best to forget. But those memories fester and stink, just as Lazarus’s body did after four days. Like Mary and Martha, let’s call Jesus to “come and see ” our grave. Let’s allow Him to roll the stone away and resurrect those dead things we’ve buried. Although it may be painful for a moment, we will forever be set free. Our souls can live again–not hiding in darkness, but alive in the light of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Click HERE to read about the resurrection of Lazarus in John 11:32-44.)
How has the Lord Jesus set you free and brought you new life with His resurrection power?
This has been a glorious month of celebrating Easter with all its important aspects. From Palm Sunday through Resurrection Sunday, we have rejoiced in God’s perfect plan to make a way back to the Father. What was stolen from Man in the Garden of Eden has been redeemed and reestablished by the obedience of Christ, our perfect and final sacrifice. May we forever praise Him for the free gift of salvation and eternal life. Next week we will return to our study on the Fruit of the Spirit, focusing on peace.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for Your resurrection power that also lives in each believer. We praise You for restoring our relationship with You and sealing our salvation through Your Son’s work on the cross. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.