At the very center of the Christian faith is the bold affirmation of Christ’s resurrection. It is very important for us to understand that our faith in the resurrection of Jesus does not rest on speculation drawn from a missing body. It is not that people discovered an empty tomb and then came to a reasonable conclusion that He is raised from the dead. The faith of the church does not rest on that kind of speculation.
The faith of the church rests on the eyewitness accounts of the authors of the New testament. It is not simply the empty tomb, but it is the post-resurrection appearance of Jesus. The death and the resurrection of Christ were first predicted by scriptures and fulfilled publicly. He appeared to hundreds of people in numerous places for almost seven weeks after His crucifixion. These people have seen the resurrected Christ, heard Him from their ears, spoken to Him, and ate with Him.
The Passover Lamb and the King
When Jesus died two things didn’t happen according to the normal. First, it was customary to break the legs of the prisoner to hasten his death. When the Roman soldiers came to break the legs of Jesus they found that He was already dead, so they didn’t do that procedure on Him. These men unknowingly fulfill the scriptures in Exodus 12:46, Numbers 9:12, and Psalms 34:20 which specifically state that the bones of the Passover Lamb could not be broken. Jesus is the final Passover Lamb.
Second, the normal procedure of the Roman system for a condemned criminal who has been executed for a capital crime is to have his body unceremoniously disposed of in the continually burning garbage dump outside the city of Jerusalem called Gehenna. In God’s sovereign plan Jesus’ body was not allowed to see corruption. Instead of throwing it into the Gehenna, into the garbage dump, Pilate allowed His followers to bring the body down and give a proper burial. His body was wrapped in fine linen anointed with precious spices. Jesus was buried in a wealthy man’s garden on the slope of Jerusalem, in the City of David. He was virtually given the burial of a king. Jesus is indeed the everlasting King.
Many people believe that it is impossible for a dead person to come to life and live again. According to the law of nature when a person dies he stays dead. According to the Biblical standpoint, death or mortality is inseparably tied to sin. Death came into the world because of sin. People die because they are sinful people. But, the death of Jesus Christ was a death imposed upon Him, not for the sin of His own. He died on the cross because He took upon Himself the imputation of our sins.
Having taken our sins He met the necessary condition for human mortality -The soul who sins shall die (Ezekiel 18:20). Apart from that Jesus would have never died because He was sinless. And, it was impossible for death to hold Him. It was impossible for God to be unjust and to allow His innocent Son to stay dead. Now, having paid that price and finished His work on this earth, Father raised Him from dead for our justification.
If the testimony of the scripture is true they who are in Christ have no sin for Christ has exchanged His righteousness for their sin. They will be resurrected to eternal life with Jesus when they die. The people who stay dead are sinful people who have rejected Jesus Christ. Paul encourages believers to be steadfast in the faith in the resurrected Christ, knowing that our effort is not in vain (1 Cor. 15:58). Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even if he dies (John 11:25).
Out of the Garden into the garden
The creation account in Genesis tells us the formation of man, Adam. Then the Lord God planted a garden toward the east and put him there along with Eve. Man was given dominion over the earth to be vice-regents for God, that is, vice kings to represent God’s reign on this planet. Having listened to Satan and acting disobediently to God’s command, the LORD God banished them from the Garden so that they might die outside the garden.
Jesus is the second Adam who came to deal with the sin that the first Adam committed in the first garden. Jesus died outside the garden so that He might bring back into the garden those banished by the sin, with Him. God has made a way for us to come back into the garden, into the fellowship with Him. God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them (2 Cor. 5;19). Anyone who places his or her faith in Jesus dies with him and is buried with Him (a spiritual baptism that takes us into Christ Himself -1 Corinthians 12:13) so that just as Christ was raised from the dead, we too might have new life (Romans 6:4).
Good and Bad News of Easter
God is merciful and gracious, that is the reason why sinners live. But that mercy has limits. The everlasting mercy of God belongs only to those who love and worship Him (Psalm 103:7-18). Everyone else is living on limited mercy, limited patience.
God is not an evangelist, He never invites people to come to Jesus, He commands them! The times of ignorance are over, now God commands all people everywhere to believe in Jesus. God has already fixed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by Jesus. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising Him from the dead (Acts 17:30-31).
Sinners should settle the case before they get to court before they appear in the final judgment. There is only one advocate, there is only one mediator, there is only one guarantor between the man and God, who is Jesus Christ who is able to save the sinner from eternal damnation. If you do not believe in this historical act of resurrection and put your faith in Christ as your only source of redemption, then your destiny is going to be infinitely horrible.