Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Passion Week - Sunday

He is risen!

Mark 16:1-7 - When the Sabbath was over, Mary of Magdala, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they could go and anoint him. And very early in the morning on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb, just as the sun was rising. "Who is going to roll the stone back from the doorway of the tomb?" they asked each other. And then as they looked closer, they saw that the stone, which was a very large one, had been rolled back. So they went into the tomb and saw a young man in a white robe sitting on the right-hand side, and they were simply astonished. But he said to them, "There is no need to be astonished. He has risen; he is not here. Look, here is the place where they laid him. But now go and tell his disciples, and Peter, that he will be in Galilee before you. You will see him there just as he told you."

Luke 24:6-7 "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here: he has risen! Remember what he said to you, while he was still in Galilee - that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men, and must be crucified, and must rise again on the third day."

Even the disciples may have forgotten about this teaching until Christ later reminded them.  He told them many times, but they did not think He was being literal:

Mark 9:10 They treasured this remark and tried to puzzle out among themselves what "Rising from the dead" could mean.

What did the resurrection mean to the disciples?  If we remember back to the arrest of our Lord, all the disciples ran away when Chris was apprehended.  Well, only Peter and another followed Christ to his hearings.  We know that Peter even denied Christ three times that night!  Their idea was not one of a weak Messiah, but of one who would conquer the armies of men.  Instead, this Christ would conquer the hearts of men.  “He has risen!” was a statement that would fill the hearts of the disciples and cause unheard of masses to come to a saving knowledge of the promised Messiah.  He was for all nations, Jew and Gentile.  All of the 11 remaining disciples believed this to their death, and died because of this!  I once heard that “A myth doesn’t make a martyr.”

I will leave you with the Apostle Paul’s comments on the importance of the resurrection from his First Epistle to the Corinthians, Chapter 15:

1 Corinthians 15:3-8 - For I passed on to you Corinthians first of all the message I had myself received - that Christ died for our sins, as the scriptures said he would; that he was buried and rose again on the third day, again as the scriptures foretold. He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve, and subsequently he was seen simultaneously by over five hundred Christians, of whom the majority are still alive, though some have since died. He was then seen by James, then by all the messengers. And last of all, as if to one born abnormally late, he appeared to me!
1 Corinthians 15:12-26 - Now if the rising of Christ from the dead is the very heart of our message, how can some of you deny that there is any resurrection? For if there is no such thing as the resurrection of the dead, then Christ was never raised. And if Christ was not raised then neither our preaching nor your faith has any meaning at all. Further it would mean that we are lying in our witness for God, for we have given our solemn testimony that he did raise up Christ - and that is utterly false if it should be true that the dead do not, in fact, rise again! For if the dead do not rise neither did Christ rise, and if Christ did not rise your faith is futile and your sins have never been forgiven. Moreover those who have died believing in Christ are utterly dead and gone. Truly, if our hope in Christ were limited to this life only we should, of all mankind be the most to be pitied!  But the glorious fact is that Christ did rise from the dead: he has become the very first to rise of all who sleep the sleep of death. As death entered the world through a man, so has rising from the dead come to us through a man! As members of a sinful race all men die; as members of the Christ of God all men shall be raised to life, each in his proper order, with Christ the very first and after him all who belong to him when he comes. Then, and not till then, authority and power, hands over the kingdom to God the Father. Christ's reign will and must continue until every enemy has been conquered. The last enemy of all to be destroyed is death itself. The scripture says: 'He has put all things under his feet'.

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