The Final Week of Jesus -- Resurrection
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It was Sunday morning, and Jesus was no longer in the tomb!
"On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright, the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ Then they remembered His words.
"When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened" (Luke 24:1-12).
THE CONTEXT -- THE MERCY OF GOD
The Resurrection created considerable confusion for those who were mourning the death of Jesus. The women had to wait until Shabbat was over before they could hurry to the tomb to prepare the body of Jesus. They went early in the morning and found Him missing. How could this be? Was He not in the tomb? The women were informed that Jesus had risen! They ran to tell the disciples who thought the women were speaking nonsense. The confusion and disbelief of the disciples stemmed from what their perception of what the Messiah should be. Though Jesus told them of the events that were to come, it was still not within their purview of understanding that the Messiah would come to conquer death for all humanity. Their hope was limited to the desire for the Messiah to free Israel from Roman rule and corruption.
Jesus was not limited to time and space; instead, as His body breathed a new breath, He opened the hope for all people to one day experience the Resurrection. Paul stated in Romans 7, "who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?" (7:24). Death is unavoidable for all humanity and conquering death was impossible before the resurrection of Jesus. These two opposing acts, death and resurrection, show the capacity of God's love for humanity. Without the resurrection of Jesus, there is no opportunity to overcome death and spend eternity with the Father.
After His resurrection, Jesus appeared to His disciples and said, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things” (Luke 24:45-48).
A resurrected life is a life built on forgiveness, repentance, and honoring God. Jesus commanded that His disciples preach repentance and forgiveness in His name, and to all nations. The disciples were blessed with the perfect example of how to live a godly life.
If Jesus is the perfect example, what did He believe? What was His faith? What "roadmap" did He follow? Jesus demonstrated what it is to live as a follower with belief in the one true God, and to "do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with our God" (Micah 6:8).
Jesus also followed the Law as revealed in the Bible. While "the Law" often retains negative connotations today, those first given the Law did not obey out of duty, but out of love. The Law is what shows us what is right and what is wrong according to God. Paul stated in Romans 7:7 and 12, ". . . I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law . . . the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good."
THE APPLICATION -- LIVING A RESURRECTED LIFE
Our relationship with each other and God is a daily choice. Do justice (caring for those who cannot care for themselves), love mercy (love even those who hate you), and walk humbly with God (live in daily obedience to the Father). Paul encouraged us in this as well when He wrote, "For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again" (2 Corinthians 5:14, 15). As we live these words, we are loving others and, in doing so, expressing our love to our Heavenly Father.
In Scripture, the Law reveals what is and is not sin, but not only that! We thank the Lord that the Law also reveals our need for a Savior. Jesus' life, death, and resurrection fulfilled the Law and provides us with the wonderful gift of a personal and intimate relationship with God for eternity, just for the asking.
As you reflect on the final week of Jesus, remember, the chains of death have lost their grip; it is Sunday morning, and Jesus is no longer in the tomb — live a resurrected life!