He is Risen!
By Pastor J.D. Link
In Matt 28, Mk 16, Lk 24 and Jn 20 we have the resurrection accounts of the four Gospel writers. Adding even more to the validity of Scripture, these accounts all vary somewhat as to details – but perfectly agree in the basic facts. Why does this add validity? Because if all four said the exact same thing, then you would immediately expect a conspiracy. If a detective received the same story down to the detail from four eyewitnesses to a crime, he would know something is not right. Why? Because people notice different details, though they may all see the same thing.
The four Gospel writers all agree that early on the Sunday morning after the death of Jesus, the stone was rolled away from the door, and the tomb where Jesus had been lain was empty. We know this happened before sunrise (Jn 20:1). Only Matthew tells us how the stone was actually moved (Mt 28:2-3). Mark mentions that Jesus first appeared to Mary Magdalene (Mk 16:9), but only John gives details of that account (Jn 20:14-16). Luke and John make mention of two angels, while Matthew and Mark mention only the one who spoke. John mentions that Peter and John ran to see the empty tomb, while Luke only mentions Peter, and Mark and Matthew do not mention it at all.
There are other details as well, but the point is that far from being contradictions, these eyewitness testimonies create the whole of the story. There is not a contradiction in the whole of it. The resurrection of the Christ and the resurrection of the dead are foundational doctrines, and the entirety of Christianity hinges on it (Heb 6:1-2, 1Cor 15:16-17).
Logic also tells us these are the facts, for the disciples would not suffer torture and martyrdom for what they knew to be a lie. The Romans and Jewish leaders would have given anything to produce the body of Jesus and nip the whole thing in the bud. However, the fact remains the body of Jesus was never found, because He rose from the dead and ascended into Heaven. Add to this, that before His ascension He was seen by over 500 people at once (1Cor 15:6). How can you get 500 people to collaborate on something like this, especially when by doing so could put your life in jeopardy?
Everyone who has ever lived will be resurrected – the only question is, which resurrection will you be in? The resurrection of the just, or of the unjust? The first, which is unto eternal life; or the second, which is unto eternal damnation (Jn 5:28-29, Act 24:14-15, Rev 20)? To preach the Gospel is to preach the resurrection (Act 4:1-2, 13:28-31, 17:31-32). Why is the resurrection preached? Why is it so important? Because if Jesus be risen, then He was Who He said He was, which means He will do what He said He would do, which means His Word is eternal truth, and we would be wise to obey it. The power of the resurrection declared Him to be the Son of God (Rom 1:3-4).
Belief in the resurrection of Jesus is essential to salvation (Rom 10:9-11). One cannot be a Christian, if they do not believe with all their heart that Christ is risen from the dead. This is not a one-time event, but a perpetual believing.
Some resurrection facts:
That God the Father raised Christ Jesus from the dead (Act 5:30, Eph1:19-20, Col 2:12). 2. We are saved from wrath (1Thess 1:10); 3. We are justified (declared righteous in God’s sight) (Rom 4:25); 4. We have new life (Rom 6:4); 5. We are freed from the law, to bring forth fruit to God (Rom 7:4, 10:4); 6. We have an Intercessor (Rom 8:34); 7. We have been given faith and a living hope (1Pt 1:3, 21); 8. We have assurance of our own resurrection (Rom 6:5, 1Cor 6:14, 2Cor 4:14, Jn 11:24-25); 9. We sit in heavenly places (Eph 2:5-6); 10. We are given eternal life, never to die again (Lk 20:34-36); 11. We are to have our hearts constantly set on the things of heaven (Col 3:1). These are the facts – the eternal truth – concerning the resurrection of Christ Jesus.
We know this assuredly as Christians, because His Spirit lives inside of us. We don’t serve a dead God. We don’t pray to an imaginary Friend. We don’t worship a figment of our imagination. We haven’t surrendered our lives to an illusion. Our God is real. Our hope is living. Our God and King Messiah Jesus is the resurrected Lord of glory, who is preparing an eternal home for us in heaven, in anticipation of that great marriage day and feast! Selah.