Week Nineteen – Blue Plate Special

Monday

And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 1 Corinthians 15:14

And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 1 Corinthians 15:17

“…Because the Resurrection is Foundational!”

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the foundation upon which the Christian faith is established.  If Jesus was not resurrected, our faith is in vain.  Not only this, but we would still be dead in our sins – UNFORGIVEN.

As the Son of Man, Jesus lived a sinless life on earth and made it to the cross to die for the sins of the world.  As a “Son,” He dedicated His entire earthly existence to fulfilling God the Father’s plan for His life.  He could have given up at any time.  In the Garden of Gethsemane, He couldn’t even keep His best friends awake long enough to support Him in prayer.  Once He made it to the cross, He could have summoned the angels and come down, but He didn’t!  He died as the PERFECT SACRIFICE.

But, what if it would have ended there?  Death would have won out.  As the Son of God, He conquered death!  Do you see the significance of this?  No one ever found the bones of Jesus.  A Risen Lord is what distinguished Christianity from all other religions.  He’s ALIVE!  After His death on the cross, He took the keys to death and Hades away from Satan.  SATAN LOST THE WAR!  “I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive forever and ever!  And I hold the keys of death and Hades.”  (Revelation 1:18).

The Resurrection seals the deal!  “Death has been swallowed up in victory.  Where, O death is your victory?  Where, O death is your sting?  He (God) gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 5:54-55, 57).


Tuesday

He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!  Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” Luke 24: 25-26

“Because It Was God’s Plan”

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1).  If there were no creator and no moral authority in the universe, we would be doomed!  Everything would be random.  But we know there is created order.  You can look at nature and perceive this truth.  “For since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20).

In the garden, the first man and woman disobeyed God.  They chose to eat of the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”  Why did they do it? …Because they wanted to be like God.  They wanted to set their own code of morals and ethics.  This intrinsic sin of Pride has been inherited by all men since that time. Be honest- we all have this fatal flaw.

BUT, GOD HAD A PLAN.  It was not a compromise.  He did not alter His holiness and lower His standards.  He sent His Son, His only Son, as a sacrifice for man.  Through the sacrifice of Jesus, man could be “made right” before God – his sins were washed away.  Then, Jesus overcame death.  It was the plan.  He needed to be God to do this part.  The natural law was overruled.  Jesus conquered death.

Why do I believe in the Resurrection?  Because God, THE CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE conceived and carried out the plan!


Wednesday

But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. Luke 24:11

“Because The Bible Is an Honest Book”

The Bible is brutally honest.  It presents the Resurrection of Jesus Christ as a shocking fact!  The tomb was empty!  The disciples and the others around Christ were bewildered to find the tomb empty.  They thought that the end was the “Cross.”  The women were the first ones to “get it.”  Luke 24 records the experience of the women at the tomb.  Two angels told them, “He is not here; He has risen.  Remember how He told you when He was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’  Then they remembered His words.” (Luke 24:6-8).

You see, the Bible doesn’t present the Resurrection as something expected by His followers.  They were surprised and the Bible presents this honestly and credibly.  Let’s look at some of the evidence presented in the Bible for the Resurrection.  We have already discovered that the disciples were surprised, therefore there was no conspiracy.  (Luke 24:12:  Peter wondered what happened).

If the body was stolen, rather than resurrected, why did the “body thieves” remove the strips of linen?  Luke 24:12 says that strips of linen were lying by themselves, not cut.  How could this happen?  Do you realize that the preparation spices were adhesive?  It would have been impossible to remove them without cutting them – UNLESS GOD WAS INVOLVED.

You see, the Bible lays out the facts in an honest fashion.  The most believable scenario is Jesus was RESURRECTED JUST AS HE SAID.  Would you believe that the confused disciples rolled away a great stone from a tomb attended by Roman guards, carefully removed adhesive strips without cutting them, folded them up and walked out without being detected?

I believe in the Resurrection because the Bible is an honest book.


Thursday

“Sir,” they said, “We remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day.  Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead.  This last deception will be worse than the first.” Matthew 27:63-64

“Because Jesus’ Enemies Believed It”

It’s interesting that Jesus’ enemies had a greater expectation that “something” would happen after Jesus’ death than the disciples themselves.  As we have discovered, the disciples were genuinely surprised about the empty tomb.  However, Jesus’ enemies prepared for this possibility.

Our passage today occurs on the day after Jesus’ death.  The Chief Priests and the Pharisees, Jesus’ enemies, carry on this conversation with Pilate.  They had heard Jesus’ teaching about His resurrection.  Therefore, they obtained permission to take a guard and secure the tomb.  You see, they knew the potential impact of the Christ’s Resurrection.

As we all know, these tombs were sealed with a large stone that was rolled in a groove across the opening.  The Chief Priests and Pharisees secured a Roman guard and put a seal on the opening.  Realize this: If a Roman guard failed in his duty, he would be punished by death.  They did not “sleep on the job.”  They were attentive!

We pick up the narrative in Matthew 28.  The stone has been rolled away by an angel of the Lord.  “The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.” (Matthew 28:4).  When these events were reported to Jesus’ enemies, the Chief Priests and Pharisees, they devise a story that the guards were asleep and paid them a large bribe. (Matthew 28:11-15).  “And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this day.”

Remember, Jesus’ enemies believed in the Resurrection.


Friday

God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. Acts 2:32

“Because There Were Witnesses”

The Resurrected Christ dwelt on earth for 40 days prior to His Ascension into heaven.  He appeared to His disciples and encouraged them emotionally.  He also ate with them as He was giving them insights into the Scriptures about how His death and Resurrection was necessary.  “He said to them, ‘This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms.’” (Luke 24:44).

You see, before Jesus returned to the Father, He encouraged His followers physically, emotionally and spiritually.  He promised them the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:49, Acts 1:8).  These men were never the same.

But Jesus didn’t just appear to the Twelve, but also to over 500 other followers (at the same time – I Corinthians 15:6).  Including the disciples, the women and these other followers, Jesus appeared to around 525 people – giving many convincing proofs that He was alive and speaking of the Kingdom of God (Acts 1:3).

And what happened to the majority of these 500 followers who saw Christ? — They were martyred for their beliefs!  There is no record that any of them renounced their beliefs even at the point of death.  If these witnesses weren’t convinced about the truth of the Resurrection, some of them certainly would have renounced their faith.

Why do we believe in the Resurrection?  There were eyewitnesses to the fact that Jesus was alive.  The lives of these witnesses were radically changed.  They were so convinced that it was true that they died for their beliefs!

#” Every other major world religion teaches that if you are good enough and follow a set of rules, then you will be alright. But the Cross of Christ unmistakably shouts to the world, ‘you cannot save yourself! You cannot be good enough for God.’ That is why Jesus had to die for us to be saved.”                                                                 Bbh-devotional