The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the foundation of Christianity and the Christian faith. The risen Christ is the reality of our faith and hope. If Christ didn’t rise from the dead then our faith is futile, and we are still in our sins (1 Corinthians 15:14–19). Jesus proved that He wasn’t a liar or a lunatic but showed that He is the Son of God by rising from the dead (John 2:19; Mark 9:31)! He proved who He said He was by His resurrection, confirming His identity as the Son of God and His atoning work on the cross. His resurrection was a literal, physical raising of the body of Jesus from the dead! A glorified body that had flesh and bone, yet could go through walls, appear and disappear as well as eat (Luke 24:36 – 43)!
Each member of the Godhead or Trinity brought Jesus back from the dead and were involved in His resurrection. God the Father raised Jesus from the dead, declaring that the payment for sin was in full, then exalted Him to the Lord of Glory (Acts 2:32-33; Galatians 1:1). Jesus also rose by His own power (John 2:18-19; John 10:18). The Holy Spirit was also involved and raised Jesus (Romans 8:11; 1 Peter 3:18). Other Scriptures refer to God (the Father or Trinity) raising Jesus from the dead (Acts 2:24; 3:15; 10:40; 13:30).(See blueletterbible.org; Don Stewart: Who Brought Jesus Back from the Dead?).
In the ministry of Jesus, He healed the sick, cast out demons, and raised the dead, declaring that the kingdom of God was arriving (Luke 11:20). He also sent out His disciples to do the same (Luke 9:1 – 2; 10:9). The kingdom of God is the rule and reign of God. It is God’s good pleasure to give us the kingdom (Luke 12:32). He has given us His Holy Spirit that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God through Jesus (1 Corinthians 2:12). Jesus paid the price so, all we have to do is receive what has been freely given by God’s grace. The kingdom of God and the resurrection are connected!
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to Him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God who is to come into the world.” John 11:25 – 27 (NKJV)
After the death of Jesus, His body was taken down from the cross, wrapped in linen, and placed in a rich man’s new tomb because it was nearby. They did this because it was the Jew’s Preparation Day to remove the leaven from their houses for the feast of unleavened bread and the Sabbath drew near as the sun was going down. The women who came with Him from Galilee followed to see where His body was laid in the tomb. Then they returned home to prepare spices and fragrant oils before resting on the Sabbath according to the commandment. They planned to return with the spices on the first day of the week.
After Jesus died, where did His soul go? His body was in the tomb and He had committed His Spirit into the hands of the Father. His soul went to Sheol (Hebrew) or Hades (Greek), the place of the dead or the grave, in the lower parts of the earth (Psalm 16:10; Acts 2:27). He told the thief on the cross that he would be with Him that day, “today” in Paradise, also called the bosom of Abraham for the righteous who died before Christ’s resurrection.
We see a description of Paradise in Hades in Luke 16:19-31. Hades is a temporary place for the departed dead (Acts 2:27, 31) and also refers to a place of torment for unbelievers held until the Great White Throne judgment (Revelation 20:11-15; 6:7-8). He did not go to Hell or the lake of fire since that was a place of eternal punishment for the wicked and Satan and his fallen angels (Revelation 19:20; 20:10, 15; Matthew 25:41; John 8:21, 24).
On the day which followed the Day of Preparation, the Chief Priests and Pharisees gathered together to ask Pilate that the tomb be made secure until the third day because they remembered that while Jesus was still alive, He had said, “After three days, I will rise.” They wanted to make sure that His disciples wouldn’t come by night and steal Him away and say to the people that He had risen from the dead.
So, Pilate gave them a guard and told them to make it as secure as they could. So, they went and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone and setting the guard. (Matthew 27:62-66). His burial followed neither the Jewish or Roman customs but was a fulfillment of prophecy (Isaiah 53:9; Matthew 27:57 – 66; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:38-42).
Mary Magdalene and certain other women went to the tomb very early on the first day of the week bringing the spices they had prepared. But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, and when they went in, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. The guards had run away after a great earthquake, and an angel had rolled back the stone from the opening of the tomb.
Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, saying, ‘the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.'” And they remembered His words. Then they returned from the tomb and told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. Luke 24:5 – 9 (NKJV)
Peter and John ran to the tomb to check it out after Mary told them. When Peter went into the tomb, he saw the linen cloths lying there, and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself (John 20:5 – 7). John also went in and believed.
Jesus had previously taught His disciples concerning His suffering, death, and resurrection, but they didn’t understand (Mark 8:31-32; 10:32-34). After His resurrection, they remembered what He had said to them and the things they did to Him (John 2:22; Luke 24:8), and they witnessed His resurrected body.
Mary and the women were the first ones to see Jesus alive (Luke 28:9-10; John 20:11-18). Jesus next appeared to two disciples walking to a village outside of Jerusalem (Luke 24:13-35) and then showed Himself to the rest of the disciples on the same day, the first day of the week. He came through the door into the enclosed room, where they were hiding for fear of the Jews and stood in their midst. He said to them, “Peace be with you,” then showed them His hands and His side, allowed them to touch Him, and ate some food to show them it was Him and not a spirit (Luke 24:39)!
Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things. Behold I send the promise of My Father upon you, but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.” Luke 24:44 – 49 (NKJV)
Jesus was referring to the promise of the Holy Spirit, who we will discuss next month.
The Apostle Paul reported that over 500 brethren saw Jesus at once after His resurrection and before His ascension to heaven, and he encountered the living Jesus on the road to Damascus many years after Christ’s death, resurrection, and ascension (1 Corinthians 15:3-8)!
What does His resurrection mean for us who believe? We have been justified, and we will live with Him. He has given us abundant life now (John 10:10) and everlasting life (John 5:28-29; 6:40).
Who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification. Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 4:25 – 5:1 (NKJV)
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 1 Peter 1:3 – 5 (NKJV)
And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid, I am the first and the last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold; I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of death.” Revelation 1:17 – 18 (NKJV)
Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so, we also should walk in newness of life. Romans 6:4 (NKJV)
Buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. Colossians 2:12 (NKJV)
Water baptism is a powerful symbolic and prophetic act that declares we have died with Christ, been buried with Him, and are raised to a new life in Christ. The old man is dead, and we are no longer in a war with our old sin nature (Romans 6:1 – 14; 2 Corinthians 10:3; Ephesians 6:12). Our spiritual warfare isn’t against our old man, but with an enemy, i.e., addiction, anger, etc. We see in Romans 7 that we aren’t married to the law because we died to it. We are now married to grace through Jesus Christ. We have a new nature from God by His Holy Spirit. We have been born again (2 Corinthians 5:17). I want to encourage you to get baptized in water if you have never experienced it after receiving Jesus as your Savior.
We no longer need to fear death. Jesus has authority over death. Jesus Christ has the keys to the kingdom. Satan never had them because only God alone has power over death and Hell, determining who goes there (John 14:6; 11:25-26). Jesus had ultimate victory through His death on the cross (Colossians 2:15; 1 John 3:8). When sin entered the world, death came with it (Romans 5:12). The author of sin and death is the devil. Satan no longer has power over death through the fear of death that had held humankind in bondage (Hebrews 2:14-15). Jesus conquered death and the grave (Revelation 1:18)!
When a believer dies, our physical body returns to dust (2 Corinthians 5:1), but our spirit and soul departs to be with Christ. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (Philippians 1:23; 2 Corinthians 5:6-9). The resurrection of Jesus Christ is our guarantee of eternal life (John 6:40), and that we will live eternally with Jesus (John 14:1-3). Our victory will be complete when we receive our glorified, resurrected body (1 Corinthians 15:54-57). The resurrection of the unbeliever does not have hope (John 5:28-29; Revelation 20:12-13) because they are not in Christ and therefore are without God and hope (Ephesians 2:12).
The resurrection of Jesus was during the Feast of Firstfruits, and He has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep in Christ (1 Corinthians 15:20-24). Therefore, we have this hope that we will see them again (2 Corinthians 5:8; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). God will also raise us through His power (1 Corinthians 6:14; 2 Corinthians 4:14). After His resurrection, there were also bodies of many saints who were also raised and came out of their graves, appearing to many (Matthew 27:51-53).
But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. Romans 8:11 (NKJV)
Over the next 40 days, Jesus taught His disciples, encouraged them, did many signs, and gave them a commission, which also included us because He said He would be with us to the end of the age! We are the body of Christ, the church, and we are to advance the kingdom of heaven (1 Corinthians 12:12-31; Colossians 1:18; Romans 12:1-21).
Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you, and low I am with you always even to the end of the age.” Amen. Matthew 28:18 – 20 (NKJV)
And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved, but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: in My name, they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” Mark 16:15 – 18 (NKJV)
A recent Kenneth Copeland Ministries blog, “Resurrection Power Defeats COVID-19,” explains why we still see evil and terrible things happening in the world today. It is because of the devil and demonic forces (John 10:10), the sin that entered the earth after the fall of man in the Garden of Eden which corrupted the forces of nature (Genesis 3:17; Matthew 24:7-8; Romans 8:19-22), and the sinful nature of men and their bad choices (Romans 5:12; James 4:1-10; Deuteronomy 30:19).
However, those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior have secured their healing, provision, and protection through the blood of Jesus and resurrection power (Isaiah 53:5; Exodus 12:13), which gives us authority over the devil (Revelation 12:11; Luke 10:19). Jesus has already redeemed us from the curse and the power of darkness (Galatians 3:13; Colossians 1:13) and has given us the victory (1 John 5:4). We can plead (apply)the blood of Jesus over our lives as we pray and declare the name of Jesus (Philippians 2:9-11) over our lives, families, and circumstances every day. Taking Holy Communion is another way because we are appropriating what Christ did on the cross and thanking Him for it. Release your faith!
Because Jesus Christ lives, we can walk in faith and have hope for all of our days. We may think and feel that what we’re experiencing with the restrictions and confinement related to the COVID – 19 viruses that life will never be normal again. In a recent sermon, Joseph Prince reminds us that God tells us in His Word that things will be back to normal, i.e., social gatherings and celebrations before Christ returns to the earth again (Matthew 24:36 – 39). You can rest in the hope of knowing that this coronavirus will come to an end, and life will return to normal.
But let us not return to our ways of living as before. Let us repent and turn from ways or lifestyles that are not according to the Word of God and pleasing to Him. Let us take what the Lord has shown us during this time and ask the Holy Spirit to help us to walk in it and apply it to our lives. We need to redeem the time because the days are evil (Ephesians 5:8-17). Let us walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh (Galatians 5:16-26) and bring the kingdom of heaven to earth (Matthew 16:19; Mark 16:15-18)!
Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name. John 20:29 – 31 (NKJV)
During the ministry of Jesus on the earth, the religious leaders of His day and the devil thought that if they killed Him, that would put an end to His teachings and the growing number of followers (John 11:47-53; 1 Corinthians 2:8). But it didn’t. The Gospel is preached today around the world, and His church is growing, fulfilling the prophecy in Isaiah 9:7, which says that of the increase of His government and peace, there will be no end. The resurrection of Jesus Christ has changed the world!
If you have never asked Jesus to forgive your sins and to be your Savior, you can do that right now. You can experience God’s love, peace, and reconciliation by the blood of Jesus and have a personal relationship with Him. Pray this suggested prayer out loud right now. You can also pray in your own words. Remember, it is not words or prayer alone that will save you. Prayer is a way to reach out to the Lord and must be done in faith (completely trusting in Him to save you). Christ will save you if you pray these or similar words in faith.
Your Word says that whoever calls on the Name of the Lord shall be saved. I ask You to forgive me for my sins. I want to turn from them and turn to You. I am calling on You and ask Jesus to come into my heart and be Lord over my life. I believe that Jesus died on the cross and shed His blood for me. I believe in my heart that You raised Him from the dead, and He is alive today. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me the Holy Spirit to live inside of me. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit and Your healing power in my life. I now belong to You. Help me to live for You and obey You all the days of my life.
In the name of Jesus, Amen.
If you prayed the prayer for salvation in faith, you are now a child of God and are in His family (John 1:12). Go to my website and check out some steps on how to grow in your relationship with Him! https://alexiscarucci.com/welcome-to-gods-family/
Nest week, we will look at His ascension to the right hand of the Father in heaven and what that means for us!
If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Colossians 3:1 (NKJV)