He is Risen
Matt 28 1-15 1 After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”
8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
11 While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. 12 When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, 13 telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ 14 If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” 15 So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.
He is risen! He is risen indeed! For those of us who have grown up in the church or have been in the church for a while, these words of call and response in celebration of Easter or Resurrection Sunday, whichever you choose to call it, are the foundation of our saving faith. It is not simply because Christ died for us on the cross it is because He conquered sin and death by rising from the dead!
As we look at today’s text, we see the Resurrection story. We see the “Mary’s” heading to the tomb at dawn’s first light. Then, there is a violent earthquake, an angel appears and the angel rolls the stone away from the tomb. The story, for most, is very familiar, much like the Christmas story. Sometimes, it seems a little too familiar and the story loses its power. If we take nothing else away today, let us focus on the power that the resurrection brings us.
By what power did Christ rise from the dead? How did the angel roll that stone away, brute strength? The angel is a strong entity, however, all power comes from on high.
In Jesus’ time to open the tomb, the stone would have to be rolled up the groove at an incline. Without God’s power, the Angel would have had to roll the 2000+ pound stone back up the groove without having anything to grip. Such a feat would not be possible.
What terrified the guards so much that they fell as if they were dead men? Have you ever thought about this? I hadn’t given it too much thought until this weekend. We know when they witnessed the entire angelic scene they were overwhelmed with fear. To fall to the ground as dead men, in my opinion, would indicate the awesome, omnipresent power of God, whether it was, the earthquake, the bright light, the white clothes, or a combination thereof. The power of the Living God brought terror, while that same power brought great joy and hope to both Mary’s and other disciples who later heard the news.
This past weekend, I heard a sermon referencing this resurrection power and living a resurrection life. We can’t have one without the other. If we try living the resurrection life without the power, it’s like trying to turn on a lamp without electricity. There is no power to function. It may be a beautiful object, but useless to the owner. It simply cannot perform its function without a power source.
So, how did Christ rise from the dead? Holy Spirit power! Romans 8:11 says, “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you”. Ron Kenoly, a Contemporary Christian Worship Leader, paraphrased it in a recording called, “Yes Lord, I Believe.”
I believe the power
That raised You
Is alive in me right now
And the joy within my heart
Can’t be contained
The Holy Spirit power is the same power source that we have to live the resurrection life here on earth. The good news is that we don’t have to wait for Heaven to live this abundant life. We can have it now! Does that mean that Christ promises that everything will be a “bed of roses” here on earth? No, He says in John 16:33 (paraphrased) we will have troubles in this lifetime but, to take heart, that He has overcome the world. He also says, He will not forsake us, the Father will send us the Advocate (John 14:16-21 paraphrased) that will be with us and live in us. That is the best news! God is with us in the best times and the worst times.
How about you? When you think of resurrection power, does it bring you joy and excitement or dread and fear? If it’s the latter, then I would love to chat with you because Jesus loves you more than you could ever know. There need be no fear in the power of the resurrection. Come, friends, join me in the resurrection life. Let’s learn to walk there together. We will talk more about this in coming weeks.
Papa, Thank you for the gift of Your Son, Jesus and a chance at a new life, a resurrection life. Fill us now with the power of Your Holy Spirit that we might walk together in unity on this journey of faith. In Jesus Mighty Name! Amen!