Intro: How many people today are celebrating the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ? I don’t have the exact figure but I believe there are more who are not celebrating because they do not believe. They are the Muslims, Buddhist and atheists. But even among those who believe in the resurrection not all are also true born again Christians. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is known by almost everyone here in the United States but do they really believe in Him as their only hope of eternal life? Every religion has a founder. Gautama Buddha founded Buddhism but where is he? Dead. Mohammed is the founder of Islam, but where is he? Dead. Felix Manalo is the founder of Iglesia ni Cristo, but where is he? Dead. The Roman Catholic Church made Peter the rock and founder of this religion and where is Peter now? Dead but his spirit is in heaven. He does not even know that they are using him as the founder and first pope naming the church after him as “St. Peter’s Basilica” in Rome, the seat of Catholicism. The Mormons founder is Joseph Smith and where is he? Dead. But the only one who was raised from the dead is the Lord Jesus Christ. The first human body that died and raised with a glorified body, never to die again. But did the religious in His time believe that he was raised from the dead? They heard that Jesus was raised but refused to believe He did. Here’s the account as recorded by Matthew.
“The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise the disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. The last deception will be worse than the first. “Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, and make the tomb secure as you know how.” So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard. After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. 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. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men… 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. When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples cameduring the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” 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.” Matt. 27:62-66; 28:1-4; 28:11-15
Religious leaders bribed the soldiers to tell a lie. Is this still true today? How many religions withhold the truth and keep their followers ignorant? But some will say, what if this is not true? Paul already anticipated this question.
“But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection from the dead, then not even Christ has been raised…And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.” 1 Cor. 15:12-13, 17-19
I was asked by a friend about the reality of my faith in Christ and eternal life, what if this is not true? You just wasted your life for nothing. So I answered, even if it is not true, I am living a better quality of life than I was before. But what if it’s true? Where will you be? Here’s Paul’s answer.
“But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruit of those who have fallen asleep.” 1 Cor. 15:20
“Christ is Alive, the Believer’s Blessed Hope”
“If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with your forever – the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.” John 14:15-21
These were the very words of Jesus to His disciples. Please take note that when He was telling this to them, Judas Iscariot was no longer with them.
Only the eleven were left with Jesus when He revealed this truth about them seeing Him again after His resurrection and they did. What about us today? Has anyone of you seen Jesus? If you did then what you have seen is Satan disguising as an angel of light. Jesus is back in heaven and will no longer appear in His resurrected body until He returns together with all who died in Him and have been in the rapture to meet Him in the air. The only time and means that He showed Himself was as light to Paul. Paul saw the light but was blinded by the light. True believers are those who come to Jesus by faith after being enlightened of the gospel without seeing Jesus are blessed.
Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:29
Jesus told that to Thomas who doubted what the others who saw told him. Those who have believed the claims of Jesus about Himself, the gospel and by faith received Him into their hearts, have this blessed hope. But how does one know that He is alive? Our text says these words of Jesus, “and I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever”, not just to be with us but to be “in us.” Isn’t this what God said and promised under the New Covenant He revealed to Ezekiel?
“And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” Ezek. 36:27
God already revealed the Holy Spirit to give to the believers in the future. Christ death and resurrection fulfilled the way God will save His people.
What then is the significance of the resurrection of Jesus? It means that His sacrificial death for sins He did not commit was accepted by God His Father.
God proved it by His appearances to His disciples and to five hundred in the forty days before He went back to heaven. He was true to His Word that in the three days He was in the tomb everybody in the world would not see Him. But after three days, His disciples would see Him. He also said that He would not leave them as orphans but He will come to them and He did. Yet when He returned to heaven after forty days who would be with His disciples? That’s why He asked His Father to send the Holy Spirit who will substitute in His place. He will be another Counselor just as He was their counselor when He was with them physically. When will He come to them?
“After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command:“Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 1:3-5
After ten days, the Holy Spirit came to dwell in each one of the believers on the day of Pentecost. After that the disciples were never the same again. Only those who have the Holy Spirit in them have this blessed hope in the promise of Jesus, “Because I live, you also will live.” What is this life Jesus is referring to here? It is for both the spirit to be made alive and resurrection of the physical body. This is to fulfill what was already written.
“Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.” Dan. 12:2
This means that everyone will be resurrected whether you are a believer or not. We will not remain as spirit but everyone will have another body. Those who have died a long time ago like Cain, his body is now all dust but it is still there, he will be resurrected in order to face judgment. The Jehovah’s Witness believe in soul sleep. Meaning that those who will not be saved will no longer exist. Then we are no better than cows or chickens if we cease to exist. But that is a lie. Everyone will have a body but will go either to hell or to heaven. Those who will go to heaven will have the same body of Christ and there will be no more sickness, no more pain and no more death. But those who will go to hell will have a body that will experience pain and the heat from the fires of hell described as a lake of burning sulfur. Not only will they experience pain and heat but continues forever. This is what Jesus said,
“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” Matt. 25:46
Who is the righteous here? Those who have heard, believed the gospel, and responded to the terms of Jesus. Only then will they be righteous.
“Repent and believe the good news.” Mark 1:15 For at the moment one comes to Jesus on His terms, immediately will be given the Holy Spirit? They are righteous because they are now one with Christ and His righteousness is imputed or credited to them. Jesus took their sins and exchanged it with His perfect obedience to all the commands of God. Jesus is now back in heaven and took back all the rights and attributes as God. Therefore He is able to save as many people who will come to God through Him. Salvation for sinners is now complete and the Holy Spirit is now doing His work to give life to our dead spirits. Once born again, the Spirit produces divine love so we can love the Lord and the evidence of that is he or she will obey.
“If you love me, you will obey what I command.” Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me.” John 14:15, 21
When Jesus died, only His body died. His spirit never died because He never sinned. Every human being has sinned and has fallen short of the glory of God. When the Scripture said that the “wages of sin is death,” our spirit is separated from God and eventually our physical body dies. It is described as being spiritually dead and has no relationship with God. A dead spirit has no understanding and discernment of spiritual matters. It is like a dog, though he has a master, he can only imitate but there is no communication on the same level. Only after our spirit is made alive will we accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, understand and discern.
Jesus now explains the two deaths as earlier recorded in the gospel of John.
“I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.” John 5:24.
This refers to every born again believer who are still physically alive. His spirit is immediately made alive, no longer separated from God and certain of spending eternity in heaven. Then Jesus said this of our physical bodies,
“For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:40
This is the gospel that saves those who look to Jesus by faith and believes.
“Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures. That he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” 1 Cor. 15:3-4
This binds together all the truths about Jesus, who He is, what He came for and what He accomplished for the redemption of sinners. Without Him being resurrected there would be no hope for anyone. He would have failed if he sinned even at the last minute. But He didn’t. He had no hatred for those who nailed Him to the cross. He even asked His Father to forgive them for they know not what they were doing. That’s why in the end He said,
“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” Luke 23:46
Christ’s spirit was never separated from God for He never sinned. While we,
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Rom. 3:23
Therefore, God received His spirit and accepted the offering of His body as full payment for our sins. Another fulfillment of God’s will for Jesus.
“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Isa. 53:5-6
And for better understanding of this truth, Paul explained it this way,
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Cor. 5:21
All our sin was charged to the account of Jesus and God punished Him for your sins and mine, for sins He did not commit.
“For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” Isa. 53:12b
His resurrection was the vindication and acceptance by God of Christ’s sacrificial offering of Himself to atone and pay for our sins and God was pleased to accept it.
“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Phil. 2:9-11
In Jesus’ humanity, His spirit and body showed a visual representation of God in the flesh.
“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.” Heb. 1:3
If you are a believer and have trusted by faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord,
“To them (you) God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Col. 1:27
For the born again believers, this is our blessed hope.