He is Risen

Matthew 28:1-8

by Paul George

During His ministry, the multitudes misinterpreted the nature, works, and teaching of Jesus. They believed the miracles He performed were a sign He was the Messiah and He would established the Promised kingdom. The religious leaders rejected His teaching because they contradicted their legalism. The disciples did not understand the nature, miracles, and teaching of Jesus. They were concerned with positions in the kingdom they believed Jesus would establish than they were in the ministry of Jesus. There were times when the people and the disciples were confused because they caught a glimpse of the nature of Jesus and it was contrary to their opinion of Jesus. Jesus added to the confusion when He refused to announce publicly His messianic role. It was at the cross the true nature of Jesus was publicly revealed when the centurion said, “Truly this man was the Son of God” (Mark 15:39).

The human eye could not see what was taking place on the cross. God’s plan of salvation was completed when Jesus cried out, “It is finished.” The sacrificial law was fulfilled. The Lamb of God paid the ransom for the world on the cross. He did what the sacrifice of an animal could not do. The saddest day in the lives of the followers of Jesus and the greatest injustice in history occurred when Jesus cried out, “It is finished.” The enemy cried out, “it is finished” when Jesus was laid in the tomb and the tomb sealed.  God smiled and the angels shouted for joy when the enemy cried out, “It is finished.”

The suffering servant has completed His work and now reigns as the King of kings, the Lord of lords.

The resurrection of Jesus is the foundation of the gospel message. If Jesus did not rise from the dead, the doctrine of the Incarnation is a lie. If Jesus did not rise from the dead, His death was the death of a deceived and deceiving man. If Jesus did not rise from the dead, we are living in a hopeless state. There is good news He is risen.

The resurrection of Jesus is recorded in Matthew 28:1-8; in Mark 16:1-8; in Luke 24:1-10; in John 20:1-8.

The tension had to be high in Jerusalem on the Sabbath. It was a time spent in tears and fears by His followers.  The services in the temple were never such an abomination in the sight of God. The hands of the priests were stained with the blood of Jesus. The question on the mind of the followers of Jesus and the religious leaders had to be what will happen tomorrow. The enemies of Jesus had done everything they could do to prevent the impossible from happening.

From the Garden of Eden to Calvary Satan has failed repeatedly to prevent the birth of the Promised Seed that would bruise his head. He failed to destroy the Promised Seed when his servant Herod ordered the killing of the infants following the birth of Jesus. From Nimrod to Caesar he has failed to build his kingdom. Now, he looks with great satisfaction at the works of his servants. The dead body of Jesus is all the proof he needs to claim he has achieved his goal; he is free to build the kingdom his servant Nimrod began to build in the days following the Flood in the day s of Noah. However, his celebration is cut short. On the first day of the week Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome came to the tomb of Jesus (Mark 16:2). They came to anoint the body of Jesus. There is one obstacle they must overcome, “They were saying to one another, ‘who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?’” (Mark 16:3).

Life is filled with obstacles we must overcome in coming to the Lord. Like the women who came to anoint the body of Jesus, we are unable to roll the obstacles away. We know we are not able to remove the obstacles in our lives that are between the Lord and us. We know they must be removed, but who will remove them? We are often frustrated by the obstacles in life. Obstacles produce frustration. These women were frustrated; we are frustrated because we do not look beyond the obstacles. The motivation for going to the tomb was wrong. Instead of going to the tomb to anoint, a dead body they should have went to the tomb looking for a risen Jesus. Their greatest obstacle was the state of their mind. Our motivation for going to the Lord is often wrong. Our motivation for coming to the Lord should be to praise Him and thank Him for what He has done in our lives. When we come with that type of attitude, we will be amazed by what the Lord can do and how quickly the obstacles are rolled away.

There are two points of view in this incident. In the King James, it is written the women “were affrighted.” Put yourself in the same position these women were in. If you were with them and saw the stone was rolled away, would you be amazed? If you were with these women and saw the stone rolled away, would the emotion fear take hold of you? What would be your first action if you saw the young man dressed in a white robe in the tomb?

The first thing that amazed the women was the stone was rolled away, amazed and frightened. Yes. They entered the tomb expecting to see the body of Jesus instead; they saw a young man wearing a white robe, amazed and frightened?  Yes. Would they have questions they were unable to ask? Yes. Notice how the young man deals with this incident. First, he calms the women. He tells them who they looking for. They are looking for Jesus the Nazarene. So there will be no mistake, He is the one that was crucified.

Second, he assures the women. He has risen. He did what He told His disciples He would do and told the religious leaders, in a way they did not understand He would do. The young man showed the women the place where Jesus was laid when He was put in the tomb.

Third, he gives the women a message to take to the disciples (v. 7). The women left the tomb and fled from the site of the tomb (v.8).

Like the women who came to the tomb and the disciples who remained in hiding, we often miss the comfort and the joy Jesus has to offer us when we do not take what he has said to us seriously. Jesus had often told the disciples that He would rise from the dead on the third day. If the women would have taken Him seriously they would have come to the tomb, expecting to find Him risen, and would have received the news of it with a joyful assurance, and not with all this terror and amazement. However, being ordered to tell the disciples, because they were to tell it to the entire world, they would not tell it to any one else. They did not tell anyone what they had seen and heard afraid it was too good to be true.  Our doubts and fears often hinder us from doing what we should do for Jesus and our fellowman. This takes a strong faith and joy in what we do.

Two thousand years ago the predictions of the coming of the Messiah was fulfilled. The predictions of His rejection were fulfilled. The Lamb of God was sacrificed. The transition from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant began. Humanity entered the last days. We are now in the last phase of God’s plan for the restoration of the world He created.

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