“He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. “And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.” (Matthew 28:6-7, NKJV)
This week in our devotions we followed Jesus through the last days of His life. We’ve seen worship. We’ve seen disappointment and pain. But today we rejoice. It is resurrection Sunday. Our Lord has risen.
After placing the body of Jesus in the tomb, Joseph of Arimathea rolled a large stone over the entrance (Matthew 27:60). The sepulcher was secured, but that wasn’t secure enough for the chief priests and Pharisees. They went to Pilate, reminding him of Jesus’ words that He would rise again after three days.
“So give orders that the tomb be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come, steal him, and tell the people, ‘He has been raised from the dead,’ and the last deception will be worse than the first.” (Matthew 27:64, CSB)
And so, to prevent any tampering with the body, they placed a seal upon the tomb and put guards there as well. They thought they had covered every contingency, but they were wrong. Man cannot thwart God’s plan.
“There was a violent earthquake, because an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and approached the tomb. He rolled back the stone and was sitting on it.” (Matthew 28:2, CSB)
Just at sunrise on the day after the Sabbath, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome brought sweet spices to anoint the body of Jesus (Mark 16:1-2). Worried about who could roll the stone away, the women were amazed and frightened to find the tomb open. As instructed by the angel, Mary Magdalene rushed to tell His disciples the good news that the Lord was alive and would meet them in Galilee.
Did they rejoice? No. Frightened and grieving, they could not immediately accept the truth of her words (Mark 16:11).
Of course, we know the story did not end there. Regardless of the lies spread by the religious leaders and their bribery of the guards to say His body was stolen, Jesus did indeed rise from the dead. There were doubters then, and many still doubt the truth of His resurrection today. But because He lives, we have a secure promise—life eternal with Him.
Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain . . . If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied . . . But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (I Corinthians 15:12-14, 19, 57, ESV)
And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. (I Corinthians 6:14, ESV)
If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. (Romans 8:11, ESV)
On this Easter morning, I can assure you, the resurrection was real. Our Savior lives. Our hope is not in vain.