The Death, Burial and Resurrection of Jesus Christ is our BRIDGE from this World to Heaven.
The New Testament accounts of the resurrection all agree:
(1) That the tomb was empty.
(2) That the resurrection occurred the third day.
Regarding the empty tomb:
- Paul’s tradition implies it.
- So does the apostolic preaching in Acts.
- The four evangelists declare it.
- The silence of the Jews confirms it.
- In trying to fathom the mystery of the first Easter Day, we should think of something essentially other-worldly, a piece of heavenly reality, invading this world of time and sense and manifesting itself.
- We are concerned with an unmistakably divine event which yet occurred in this world of ours, on an April day in A.D. 30 while Pontius Pilate was Roman governor of Judea.
I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE
In this lies the full explanation of Jesus’ words, “If a man keep my word, he shall never see death” (John 8:51).
Such statements of Jesus never were intended to deny the necessity of physical death.
This is the opening sentence in the litany for the dead in the Book of Common Prayer; and its healing, comforting message has echoed over millions of graves, and as bodies were buried at sea, or wherever the bereaved have turned in sorrow from the unanswering faces of their beloved dead.
- Jesus’ words here contrast a belief in a doctrine with a belief in himself.
Martha found little comfort in the thought of a resurrection at the last day; but Jesus said, “I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE.”
Without disparaging Christian doctrine in any sense, we may say that it is faith in a Person, even in Jesus, that makes all the difference.
- This means Jesus is God in human form, a truth he promptly proved by raising Lazarus.
Jesus had claimed Godhood as Light of the world, the Good Shepherd, the giver of eternal life, the door of the sheep, as existing before Abraham was born, and in numerous other ways. Here he appeared as Resurrection come in the flesh.
- This means far more than an assertion of Jesus’ power to raise Lazarus, extending to all the dead who ever lived (John 5:24-29).
The “Come forth,” shortly to be sounded over Lazarus’ grave, is the same cry that shall awaken all the dead on earth.
- In this appears what is meant by “shall not see death.”
Every year during the Easter season, the newspapers carry stories of miracles, visitations, and phenomena alleged to be miraculous.
There are images bleeding, bloody robes with the image of Christ, etc.
Admittedly, we have not seen any fire come down from heaven yet.
Men still claim the power to perform miracles, but their message is not in harmony with God’s word, and therefore we can be certain that God is not the source of their power.
In this connection, such alleged miracles as “changing the bread and wine of the communion into the literal body and blood of Christ.