The resurrection of Christ is the basis for the glorious hope of the saints.
TEXT: MATT. 28:1-10; 1COR. 15:1-20.
Christ’s death, burial and resurrection are so significant in Christian faith that the gospel will not be complete without them. ‘But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen… Our proclaiming is in vain… we are found false witnesses of God… your faith is in vain, ye are yet in in your sins and we are of all men most miserable.
But now is Christ risen from the dead and become the first fruits of them that slept’1Cor. 15:13-20. The evidence of this truth is the empty tomb, the witnesses of the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit who is still bearing witness to all who believe the scriptures that God cannot lie. This study shall focus on the significance of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ Jesus and the evidence to prove them.
The objectives of this study are:
- To consider the significance of the death and burial of Jesus Christ
- To appreciate the evidence that Christ is risen
- To understand the benefits of Christ’s resurrection to the believer
- To highlight God’s expectation from the believer at this Easter.
Q1 DISCUSS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE DEATH AND BURIAL OF JESUS CHRIST. Matt. 27:57-66, Isiah 53:9-12, 1Cor. 14:3-4, Heb. 2:14,9:11-15.
Adam and Eve (the first man and woman) transgressed God’s instruction which led to sin in the sight of God and brought disobedience into the world that everyone born of a woman were born into sin, as a result of this sin, mankind became sinners and alienated from God with the consequence of eternal death. Before passing judgement on them, God in His infinite mercy made provision that the ‘seed of the woman will bruise the head of the serpent” Gen. 3:5. The Virgin Birth, ministry, suffering, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ were prophesied by most for the prophets in the Old Testament before He finally came and fulfilled the will of God to reconcile man to God. The Lord Jesus Christ bore our sin in His own body on the tree, that:
a. We, being dead to sin, should live unto righteousness.
b. By His death, the power of sin is destroyed in our lives, that is why we can repent and live holy lives.
c. Just as the sin of Adam and Eve brought them under satan’s dominion, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ brought freedom and victory over death. Hence, hell and death have no power over as many as believe on Jesus Christ.
Q2. EXPLAIN THE FOLLOWING EVUDENCE THAT CHRIST IS RISEN FROM THE DEAD
a. THE EMPTY TOMB. Matthew 28:1-7, John 20: 1-6.
While on earth, the Lord, Jesus told His disciples that He would suffer, die and be buried and that on the third day, He would rise. “In the end of the Sabbath as it began to dawn towards the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulcher…. And the angel answered and said unto the women, fear not for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here, He is risen, … Come and see the place where the Lord lay” Matt. 28:1-7. Today, the empty tomb is still available as evidence that Christ is not in the grave: praise God, Christ is risen indeed.
b. THE POST-RESURRECTION APPEARANCE OF CHRIST TO THE DISCIPLES AND OTHERS. John 20:16, 24-29, John 21:5-7, 1Cor. 15:4-8.
Mary Magdalene was the first person the Lord Jesus appeared to after the resurrection. “Jesus saith to her, Mary. She turned herself and saith unto Him, Rabboni, which is to say, Master… Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut, where the disciples were assembled for the fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst and saith unto them, ‘Peace be unto you ‘ … John 20:16-23. Jesus also appeared to Thomas Didymus who was not with the disciples when He appeared to them and did not believe when he was told; showed him His pierced hands and the print of the nails. Jesus appeared to two men that were going from Jerusalem to a village called Emmaus (Luke24:13-35). IN John 21:1-23, Jesus appeared to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias where they went to fish. The toiled all night to no avail but a miracle happened when Jesus came and asked them to cast their net on the right side of the ship which revealed Him to them. For forty days, Jesus showed Himself to His disciples before he ascended to Heaven.
c. REMARKABLE EXPERIENCES AND CHANGES IN THE LIVES OF THE DISCIPLES AND TODAYS BELIEVERS. Acts. 2:14, 4:12-13, 19
“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled and took knowledge of them and they had been with Jesus” Acts 4:13. The experience of an encounter with the Holy Spirit is so remarkable in the lives of the believers. Apostle Peter and the rest of the disciples who were hiding because of fear had the boldness to speak when the Holy Spirit came upon then. Jesus revealed Himself to Paul on His way too Damascus to arrest more believers after the killing of Stephen (Acts.9:1-18). Christ’s resurrection makes the evidence of the gospel manifest in the lives of believers today. The power that raised Christ from the dead also quickens our own mortal bodies. We have boldness to declare before anybody—whether high or low or even the devil and his agents that ‘Jesus is alive forever more.’ If Jesus had not risen, we would have been of all men most miserable. Our faith would have been in vain.
Q3. EXAMINE THE FOLLOWING BENEFITS OF CHRUST’S RESURRECTION TO THE BELIEVER.
a. VICTORY OVER DEATH 1Cor. 15:53-57
Through the death of Jesus Christ on the Cross, He gave believers victory over death. The sting of death that would have killed us is what He nailed on the cross and triumphed over death when He rose from the dead. It is only those who do not believe the finished work of Jesus on the cross that will be overcome by death. As He rose with incorruptible body, death lost its victory, so believers in Him will be raised incorruptible. For if we are dead in Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him: knowing this that Christ being raised from the dead dies no more; death hath no more dominion over Him.
b. JUSTIFICATION ROMANS 4:25
“Who was delivered for our offence for our offenses and was raised for our justification.” This means that believers have been made righteous by the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross of Calvary.
c. RESURRECTION OF BELIEVERS John 11: 25-26.
“Jesus said, I am the resurrection and the life, he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live…” Vs. 25. ‘Beloved now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be but we know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him: for we shall see in Him as He is ’ (1John 3:2). Though there are numerous blessings attached to the resurrection power on earth which we are enjoying; resurrection from the dead is the ultimate hope of every believer. We shall be clothed with immortality and live eternally with our maker. For this reason, Apostle Paul admonished that those who have this hope should purify themselves.
d. ETERNAL FLAME. Rev. 1:18-19
Eternal life means life without end. This is the promise the Lord Jesus made to all that believe in Him. As He is alive forever more, so shall all believers in Him be. The saints of God will rise up to meet the Lord where we will spend eternity with Him while those who reject Him will spend their eternity in hell; for he that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life [eternal life] and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abided on him. Eternal life is not in any other except Jesus.
e. GIFT Psalm 68:18
Jesus died, was buried, resurrected and ascended on high: He led captivity captive and received gift for men. Even the rebellious that will repent today shall be accepted. The gift of salvation is the highest gift one can receive on earth for as many that received Him to them He gave power to become the sons of God. John 1: 12.
Q4. WHAT TO DOES GOD EXPECT OF THE CHRISTIANS IN THIS EASTER? Matt. 28:7a
Col. 3:1-4 says “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ siteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.”
Easter period is the period to engage in the great commission. Believers are expected to rise and give hope to the dying world. We should tell someone that “Christ is risen.” Unfortunately, many believers have lost focus on this ingredient of Christianity without remembering that Jesus commanded us to ‘go into all the world and preach the Gospel’ (Mark 16:15). So, Easter period should be for aggressive evangelism, not merry making. In addition, during this period, it is necessary to soberly reflect on one’s life, and attend Christian fellowship.
DAILY LIVING APPLICATION
Christ resurrection guarantees us that we will live eternally if we accept Him as our Lord and Savior; and after we are saved, he does not want us to keep the good news to ourselves. He has commanded us to tell the whole world. Therefore, tell it everywhere—He is risen, we should demonstrate to the world that Christ is risen by our lifestyle, that Christ is the hope of the world.
1Cor. 15:19 – “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.”