Mine Creek Baptist Church
He Lives, He Lives, Christ Jesus Lives Today!
By Preacher Chris Rathbone
One of the foundational doctrines of true Christianity is the literal physical resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. There are many who deny this truth and even false teachers and cults who teach that Jesus did not physically rise from death. If Jesus did not rise from death then all that He did in His sacrifice on the cross would have been null and void. If He did not rise from death then you and I have no hope of eternal life. This doctrine of the resurrection of Christ is an essential teaching that the church cannot and must not compromise on. Jesus’ resurrection is what sets Him apart from anyone else. All He did, all He taught, and all He promised is false if there was no resurrection. Here are some important truths from scripture that explain the truth and necessity of His glorious resurrection that first Easter morning.
First, Jesus proclaimed His death and resurrection before it happened. On three different occasions Jesus told His disciples that He would be crucified and rise again.
Matthew 16:21 From this time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders, and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.
Matthew 17:22-23 And while they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto them, The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men; and they shall kill him, and the third day shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry.
Matthew 20:17-19 And Jesus going up to Jerusalem took the twelve disciples apart in the way, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliever him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again.
Jesus rose from the dead just as He promised. Had He not conquered death as He promised then He would have been found to be a liar. But glory to God, He rose just as He said, fulfilling the words He had spoken! In Jesus is truth and He fulfills His promises! When the women came to the tomb that morning the Bible states in Matthew 28:5-6 And the angel answered and said unto the woman, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. His resurrection was a fulfillment of the promise He had made.
Secondly, His resurrection was a literal and physical resurrection. There are those who teach that Jesus did not physically rise from the dead but that it was a spiritual resurrection. That is, His physical body did not rise, but only in spirit did He resurrect. On the authority of Scripture, this is a false teaching. Let us examine some scripture that prove He physically rose from the dead.
In John chapter 2, Jesus has cleared the temple of those who were making the temple a house of merchandise. The Jews asked for a sign to prove He had the authority to do these things. In verse 19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. The Jews thought Jesus was speaking of the temple building itself which took 46 years to build. Verse 21 tells us But he spake of the temple of his body. 22. When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said. He was not speaking of His spirit being raised, but of His body being raised from the dead.
Luke 24 is a most important portion of scripture about the physical resurrection of Jesus. In verses 35-43 we read of Jesus’ appearance to the disciples. He had appeared to two disciples on the road to Emmaus, and while they were sharing their experience with the other disciples, He suddenly stood in the midst of them (vs. 36). But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have (37-39). The scripture continues in verse 41-43 stating: And while they believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat? And they gave him a piece of broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them. Not only did Jesus present Himself to the disciples so they could touch His physical body, but He also ate in front of the them to give them further proof that what they were witnessing was true. He had physically resurrected from the dead.
Now with these things we must understand that His resurrected body was able to do things that you and I in our regular physical bodies cannot. His resurrection body was in a glorified, immortal, and incorruptible state. Though it was His physical body, it had been changed. Jesus even did things before His resurrection in His body that prove His power over the physical world such as walk on water. After His resurrection, He was able to vanish (Luke 24:31) and suddenly reappear (Luke 24:36). We also learn in this same chapter, verse 50, that He ascended up into heaven. Mark 16 records this event also. Jesus showed Himself physically to His disciples so they would know for themselves that He had physically resurrected from the dead. In this truth they stood and preached after He ascended into heaven. It was a core doctrine of the gospel of which they devoted their lives too. Some would even die for preaching the gospel. Acts 1:3 tells us that he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days. When Paul wrote to the Corinthians in his first letter chapter 15:3-7 he stated: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. Yes, my friends, Jesus rose from the dead physically, and was seen and touched by many, many witnesses. This is a truth that the scriptures teach and to teach otherwise is to teach contrary to the Holy Bible.
Last of all, the resurrection of Jesus is essential for our salvation. In 1st Corinthians 15:12-20, the apostle Paul is writing to correct false teaching that had entered into the church in Corinth. There were those who were denying that there was a resurrection of the dead. Many Christians were troubled by this teaching because of the loved ones who had already died. Not only does Paul rebuke the false teaching, but he also proclaims the importance of the resurrection of Christ. For the sake of space here, I will let you read for yourself and just highlight some portions of this scripture. In 12-13 Paul says if there is no resurrection of the dead how can we preach that Christ is risen. In verse 14, he states that if Christ is not risen then our preaching and faith is in vain. In verses 15-16, Paul says we are false teachers if we preach that Christ is risen and then say there is no resurrection of the dead. If Christ is not raised, then our faith is vain, and we are still in our sins. In other words, we would still be lost if Jesus has not risen from the dead, verse 17. Not only are we lost, but those who had already died have perished, and there is no hope, verse 18. In verse 19, Paul states that our hope in Christ goes beyond this life because of the resurrection of Christ. And in verse 20 Paul states the truth that changes everything, but now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. Jesus was the one who died and rose again, to never die again!!!! And because of Him, we have that hope too!!!
These are but a few of the scriptures that point us to the truth and hope of the resurrection of Jesus our Savior. My hope is that in this wonderful season of Easter, that the we will realize afresh and anew the importance of Jesus rising from the dead. May we celebrate and proclaim to all, that He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today, and most importantly, He lives within our hearts!
Happy Resurrection Day,