The Resurrection of Jesus

(Matthew 28:1-10)

The single most significant event of Christianity was the resurrection of Jesus. Without the resurrection of Jesus all of the rest of Christianity falls apart and is meaningless.

The New Covenant could only come into force and be ratified upon the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ. But the life that we receive under the New Covenant rests on the resurrection of the Lord, not his death. Life is in the resurrection as Jesus said of himself, “I am the resurrection and the life.” (John 11:25) The death of Jesus was a critical event, for we enter into his kingdom through being baptised into the death of Jesus. But it is in the resurrection of Christ that we are raised as new creations, set free from sin, law, death and condemnation and receive life.

The resurrection is the one defining doctrine of Christianity that sets it apart from all other religions. Only Christianity preaches the power of the resurrection and entrance into eternal life through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. It is also the only religion where worshippers cannot visit the grave of the founder of the religion, for Jesus is alive: “He is risen.” (Verse 6)

Jesus’ resurrection was not hidden in a corner. He appeared to all of the disciples, including five hundred at one time in the days that followed his resurrection. The soldiers guarding the tomb were witnesses to the angel rolling back the stone at the door of the tomb, before they fainted with fright. They reported it back to the priests and so it must have been clear to them the truth of the resurrection. Still they refused to believe and sought to cover it with lies.

As an aside, the first people entrusted to preach the resurrection were not the Lord’s close disciples, but were women. The two Mary’s were specifically told by the angel to go to the disciples and carry the message that Jesus had risen and would meet them in Galilee. The disciples did not believe them when they took this message back, and in the Mark version we see the Lord upbraided the disciples for their hardness of heart and unbelief for not listening to these women (Mark 16:14) Today we see a great contention about women in ministry, but the Lord showed no such partiality. In fact he entrusted women with this first message of the resurrection that is central and pivotal to the New Covenant and Christianity, and that women should bring the message to the disciples.

In the resurrection we see the fulfilment of the work of Jesus on earth and the power of God through Jesus to reconcile man to God. Let us give him thanks for this inexpressible gift that through the death and resurrection of Jesus we might have the right to stand before God and receive life.

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