The Final Chapter
Did Jesus rise from the dead? The answer to that question determines everything. Your conclusion about the resurrection sets in motion your faith or lack of it.
If you believe that Jesus was a great prophet, a man who did miracles and one who suffered a brutal death on the cross but did not resurrect from the dead, then your faith in Jesus serves no purpose.
If you believe that Jesus was both God and man who was sent by the Father to give His life for our sins by dying on the cross and rising to life after being buried three days, then your faith has the potential to empower you to live as a supernatural overcomer.
The goal of every gospel writer in the New Testament is to prove that His resurrection was legitimate. Why? Because there were no eyewitnesses that saw it happen. The truth is that many bystanders watched Him be crucified. The big struggle for His most intimate followers and the religious leaders who ordered His crucifixion was to grasp His resurrection.
The resurrection was essential to God's guaranteed salvation plan for mankind.
The timing for Christ to rise 3 days after His death was spoken about on many occasions by Christ, but the disciples were buried in their emotions and filled with unbelief when Christ was arrested and hung on a cross to die the most brutal form of death known to mankind. They could not remember how He literally improved their whole way of life let alone think to recall His prophecies about the immediate future.
He fulfilled over 300 old testament prophecies about His life:
But somehow the disciples forgot the resurrection.
That would be like telling the story of the American Revolution without talking about the Boston Tea Party.
In John 20:11-18, John the Apostle writes to fill in the gaps of the other gospel writers.
The Jews believed that the Messiah would come, but they did not believe He would die. They certainly did not believe He would be resurrected.
The story picks up with Mary Magdalene who is the first person to check out the grave.
Her motivation was driven by her deep affection for Christ:
She was delivered from 7 demons by Him.
She traveled with Him and supported His ministry.
She was committed to Him because He totally transformed her life.
She arrives to find the stone rolled away and the tomb open.
She is anticipating being able to take care of Him and return His love.
But He was gone.
Had someone stolen His body?
Who took Him?
Did the Pharisees do it?
Her trauma during the last 24 hours was a nightmare, but now it is worse.
She runs for help to get Peter and John.
They race back to the grave.
John outruns Peter, but Peter outdares John.
Peter sticks his head in the tomb when John stands by the entrance.
The grave clothes are folded and left behind which rules out robbers, but they do not catch on.
Why were they slow to believe He was resurrected?
They did not understand the scriptures.
They were consumed by their emotions:
His death felt like abandonment which led to utter despair.
They lost hope.
Three times Jesus prophesied His death and resurrection.
Matthew 20:17-19 states, "As Jesus was about to go up to Jerusalem, He took the twelve disciples aside by themselves, and on the road, He said to them, 'Behold,m we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death, and they will hand Him over to the Gentiles to mock and flog and crucify, and on the third day He will be raised up.' "
They did not understand the prophecy in Isaiah 53:10-12.
John is making a point about himself and Peter. Until the Holy Spirit fills us we do not get it.
In Luke 24:44-45, it says, "Then he said to them, 'Don't you remember the words I spoke to you when I was still with you? I told you I would fulfill everything written about me, including all the prophecies from the law of Moses through Psalms and the writings of the prophets.'"
The American Church is bewildered right now. We lost a significant battle in 2020. Our Leaders caved to the radical agenda of liberalism and the tyranny of socialism. The church doors were closed because we were afraid. Like the disciples, we did not truly know God's prophetic timeline. We did not seize the moment to unify and rise up against the tide of oppression.
I question our belief in the supernatural resurrection of Jesus. Oh I know we flippantly refer to the historical occurrence like it is real. But if we say we believe in HIS SUPERNATURAL RESURRECTION then why do we fall apart during hard times? If we had no doubt about HIS resurrection then we would be taking advantage of the opportunity to spread the gospel and increase the Kingdom. But we were worried that we were facing the end of the world.
It wasn't the FINAL CHAPTER
The disciples thought it was the final curtain for Jesus after His crucifixion.
They did not know what to do next.
They did not know what to make of the situation.
They were afraid the Pharisees and religious leaders would come after them next.
Their problem was that they were looking for a dead man, not a risen one.
In John 20:11-18, Mary Magdalene returns to Jesus' tomb for a second visit.
Mary is overwhelmed with grief.
An angel appears and asks, "Woman, why are you weeping?"
She says, "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they put Him."
Great loss creates great grief.
Mary is fixed on finding her dead mentor.
She cannot even recognize the divinity of angels in her presence.
She thinks the man in the room with her is the gardener, but it is Jesus.
She is consumed with the narrative in her head:
"He is gone and I cannot do anything about it."
"He is lost and nobody cares."
"I will never feel loved again."
"I have no reason to live."
The church is divided into two categories:
Those that see the resurrection only as a historical event.
Then there are those that believe that His Resurrection is the victory over sin, hell, death, and empowerment for believers to live as more than conquerors.
Some see Him as a dead man still upon the cross. Others know Him as risen.
Our embracing the cross is absolutely necessary, but we do not worship a dead man.
How did Mary figure it out?
His voice changed her perception.
His voice was like a familiar song.
His voice was the same voice that called demons from her soul.
It was the first time a man said "I love you" and he was trying to use her body.
His voice restored her like no other.
So Mary runs to spread the good news; the gospel.
HE IS ALIVE.
John 20:19-23, tells the story of how Jesus comes to the disciples.
The doors were locked to their home because they were hiding from the Jews.
The disciples were very afraid of being arrested by the Jews.
Jesus came into the room.
His body was no longer subject to natural law.
He was fully man and fully God before He was resurrected.
Now He is no longer bound by this world.
He wanted the disciples to see and experience their potential.
Jesus said to them, "Shalom; peace to you."
He reminds them that He is sending them into the world to be His representatives.
They are not to live shut behind closed doors.
He breathes into them the Holy Spirit.
He did not whisper an important message to them. He gave them His Spirit.
Genesis 2 talks about how God breathed into man and man became a living being.
Why is the resurrection important to us?
It is evidence that God fulfills all of His promises.
The spirit of Biblical scriptural prophecy is the truth.
It empowers us to overcome: the enemy, the power of sin, the grave, and gives us authority and power to do everything we are called to do.
1 Corinthians 15:14-15 says, "And if Christ has not been raised, all of our preachings have been for nothing and your faith is useless. Moreover, if the dead are not raised, that would mean that we are false witnesses who are misrepresenting God. And that would mean that we have preached a lie, stating that God raised him from the dead if, in reality, he didn't."
John 11:25 Jesus says. " 'Martha,' Jesus said, 'You don't have to wait until then. I am the Resurrection, and I am Life Eternal. Anyone who clings to me in faith, even though he dies, will live forever.' "
WELCOME TO YOUR FOREVER.
HE BROKE THE BOUNDARY BETWEEN HEAVEN AND EARTH.
God the Father ordained this moment.
When his son's resurrection would rewrite human history.
Giving us supernatural victory over the enemy.
IT'S TIME FOR A NEW CHAPTER. IT'S TIME FOR THE VICTORIOUS CHURCH TO RISE UP AND ADVANCE THE KINGDOM WITH ALL OUR HEARTS!!!