In this message from 1 Corinthians 15 Pastor Steve looks at how Christ became the firstfruits of our eternal resurrection both physically and spiritually. Come to understand how the resurrection of the Lord Jesus prepares us for our resurrection.
11 But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb.
12 And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.
13 Then they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.”
14 Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus.
15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.”
16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher).
17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’ ”
18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things to her.
It is nearly impossible for us to imagine this exchange between the risen Jesus and Mary Magdalene. Overcome with sorrow, Mary goes early to the tomb to grieve alone. Many of us have returned to the gravesite of a loved one just to be near them, to grieve privately, to air our sorrows. Mary did not go to the tomb expecting it to be empty, she came to spend a little more time with the One who loved her soul and saved her from her from her sin. But when she arrived the tomb stone was rolled back and the tomb was empty. Her grief increased thinking that someone had stolen the body of her Lord and so she begged the “gardener” for information.
We have been there, at some level. We have been at the funeral of a loved one struggling with why they had to die. The brutality of the death of Jesus, the senseless aggression to end His life would have exacerbated Mary’s grief. She just wanted to be near Him one more time.
Thus it is nearly impossible to fully understand her feelings. She speaks to a man pleading with him to tell her where the body is and the man calls her name, “Mary.” She knew that voice. She had heard it many times before. But she did not recognize the Man. Her Lord was beaten beyond recognition. His body was destroyed by the guards and the cross. This man was whole. He was in clean clothes. He had no indication of the horrific beating Jesus had endured just three days earlier. But she knew the voice was the most tender voice she had ever heard and as she looked up and looked into His eyes, she knew it was Jesus.
What would you have done? She embraced Jesus with tears of joy and then she ran and told the disciples that she had seen Him. She became a strong witness of the Savior, and rightfully so, for she knew what she saw and heard. What a wonderful moment Mary had that day. John recorded this event for us to share in that moment and to enjoy it ourselves. Our Jesus lives! Our Jesus conquered both sin and death. Sin could not kill Him and the grave could not hold Him. Men could not restrain Him and the beating did not weaken Him. Jesus rose strong and triumphant over all of the effects of sin defeating Satan as predicted in Genesis 3. The Bible is true. God is God and salvation from sin was complete. Hallelujah! What a Savior.
We had a glorious Resurrection Sunday at Grace for Life. I am so thankful for all who participated to make that day one that exalted the resurrected Savior. We sang of Jesus, we had readings as to His death and resurrection, we praised Him at the Lord’s Table and at the breakfast table. Thank you for coming to share in this great day with us and for taking part.
The tomb is empty,
He is Risen.
1 Corinthians 15
11 Therefore, whether it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.
12 Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?
In a court of law witnesses play a key part in determining what really happened. One viable witness can turn the tables. Five viable eye-witnesses establish the truth of what happened, if they all agree on the details of the event. But what happens when you have 512 eye-witnesses to an event? If 512 people gathered in a courtroom and one by one gave the same eye witness account of what happened, no one could ever doubt what really happened. There would be no further need for testimony ever. That case would be rock solid and settled for all time.
If this is so, then why is there such debate over the resurrection of Jesus Christ? In the days that it happened a lie was fabricated and soldiers were paid off to go along with the lie. Throughout history there have been men and women who not wanting to live under the authority of God’s word, made up a different outcome and published it as fact. Religions who want to believe that death is annihilation deny the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In fact, you don’t have to look very far to find those who deny it.
According to Paul’s teaching, there is no denying the resurrection of Jesus. They saw it and Paul saw it and so they preached it and so we believed it. We are not following a cunningly devised fable. We are not following the greatest first century lie. We are following the established facts of the case. Jesus Christ rose from the dead and was seen by more than 512 people! When Paul wrote 1 Corinthians most of those eye-witnesses were still alive and were still giving eye-witness testimony to the facts of the resurrection from the dead.
My point is that this is 100% believable. We can believe in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead because it happened and not just in the minds of His followers but they all saw Him in His risen body. Jesus Christ rose in bodily flesh, not just His spirit, but His body rose, the tomb was empty and His body was touchable, He ate, He walked, He talked and reasoned with them all after His resurrection. Therefore, we can know Him in the power of His resurrection and have the hope of our own resurrection as He taught.