Explore the Bible
with Don Schuman
Sunday, April 12
Jesus Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! With those words, Christians all over the world and throughout history have confidently declared the power and glory of the Gospel. What does a risen Lord and Savior mean to us? Our lesson in Luke 24 provides some answers.
A risen Lord means accept the unexpected (Luke 24:1-3). Joseph of Arimathea had hastily prepared and buried Jesus because He died within hours of the Sabbath (6 p.m. Friday to 6 p.m. Saturday). Early Sunday (the first day of the week), the woman went to the tomb of Jesus with spices, expecting to prepare His body properly for burial. Imagine their bewilderment to find the stone rolled away from the tomb and the body of Jesus missing!
We can’t anticipate the unexpected, but we can accept that nothing is unexpected to God who sees and knows all things. Two months ago, I didn’t expect to preach to my phone on Easter Sunday (although my phone needs it sometimes!) but I can accept the unexpected, knowing God works even bad situations for good to those who love Him (Rom. 8:28).
A risen Lord means accept the Good News! (Luke 24:4-9). An angel at the tomb declared to the women that Jesus was not there; He is risen! He had conquered death and had risen to life! The resurrection of Christ Jesus is the hope of the Gospel and the essential core of the Gospel (1 Cor. 15:17).
The resurrection shows the power of the Trinity working together. Jesus said that He had the power to lay down His life and take it up again (John 10:17-18). God the Father raised up Jesus (Rom. 4:24, 6:4, 10:9), and the Holy Spirit raised up Jesus (Rom. 8:11, 1 Peter 3:18). The three Persons of the Godhead worked together in the birth of Jesus, the baptism of Jesus, and the resurrection of Jesus. The Good News of salvation says that these three Persons are also involved in the new life of every believer in Christ. God sent the Son to save us (John 3:16), Jesus died to save us (Rom. 5:6-8), and the Spirit indwells us (Acts 2:4, Eph. 2:18).
The resurrection verifies all the good, good elements of the Gospel that we have seen in the lessons in Romans: justification, peace with God, freedom from the power and guilt of sin, and the mercy of God. Through His resurrection, we can have new life.
A risen Lord means accept the evidence (Luke 24:10-12). Simon Peter didn’t believe the women’s claim that Jesus had risen from the dead. He had to see the tomb for himself. John’s account mentions that he ran ahead of Peter but stopped at the opening, while Peter rushed in. He saw the evidence that His body was not simply taken. The linens wrapped around the body and the cloth about the head were still there. Peter left wondering if the women’s report of Jesus being alive was true. He and other disciples were soon to find out that Jesus was certainly raised from the dead to live forevermore!
The unexpected has changed our habits and routines lately, but the Gospel of Christ has not changed. Accepting the evidence of the resurrection is essential to salvation (Rom. 10:9-10). Books such as Lee Strobel’s The Case for Christ and Josh MacDowell’s Evidence that Demands a Verdict present the evidence of the resurrection and offer a defense of the faith to skeptics. When we believe the resurrection of Christ, we can believe the whole Word of God.
This Easter, I can’t say it in person, but I can say it to any person, “Jesus Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!”
Schuman is pastor of Temple Church, Myrtle.