1 Corinthians 15: 22 - 26, For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. NKJV
The validity of the entire Bible rests upon one event... the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Paul uses different terminology; nevertheless, the sentiment is the same. If Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and our faith is also empty (or in vain.) Let's take this discussion to a deeper level. The resurrection of Jesus from the dead proved that He was, indeed, the Son of God. It also demonstrated that He had authority over death, hell, and the grave. His resurrection also attested to His sinless life. By these, we know beyond any shadow of doubt that Jesus pleased the Father and redeemed us from the curse of sin.
Let's digress for a moment. God warned Adam not to eat from the tree of knowledge, lest he die. However, since Adam didn't heed the warning of God, he sinned; and consequently, brought death upon all mankind. From the time of Adam until the time of Jesus' resurrection, humanity lived under the bondage of fear and death. Outside faith in God's promises of the coming Messiah, no one had any hope of defeating death and leaving the grave.
The result or consequence of sin was, and still is death. Death symbolizes the cessation of life or the separation of mankind from God, who IS life. In order for someone to have power over death, they would first have to overcome sin completely. The writer of Hebrews says that our High Priest (Jesus) was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. There was no deceit in His mouth. Nevertheless, the scribes, the Pharisees, and most of the Jews refused to believe that Jesus was their Messiah. They couldn't accept the truth that Jesus was the Son of God, and that He lived a sinless life, even though He gave them many infallible proofs.
As the day drew closer for Jesus' passion, He warned His disciples of what would transpire when He returned to Jerusalem for Passover. When they heard what the elders would do to Him, they tried to prevent Him from going because they wanted to spare Him from suffering and death. These men understood the finality of death more than they understood that Jesus was the Son of God. Had they understood and accepted the truth of Jesus' identity and of His mandate from God to give Himself as the ransom for the souls of mankind, they would not have tried to stop Him from going to the cross. It was very difficult for them to believe that Jesus actually had the authority of God to overcome death, hell, and the grave.
The DAY finally arrived for Jesus to make His triumphant entry into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey. A multitude of worshippers laid down palm branches to welcome their King. However, a few days later, the same crowd that had ushered Him into town with worship, and praise turned on Him and demanded that He be crucified. What caused the people to turn their hearts from worshipping Jesus to becoming angry and demanding His death? We know from what Jesus had previously told His disciples about the elders, scribes, and Pharisees that they were the reason for the revolt. Nevertheless, they were fulfilling the reason for Jesus' arrival on earth.
Questions were flooding the hearts of those who secretly believed Jesus' teachings. Was Jesus really the Son of God? Did He actually tell them the truth when He taught them in their synagogues? There was only one way to lay their concerns and doubts about Him to rest, and that was through Jesus' crucifixion. On the dawn of the first day of the week, the two Marys came to the tomb to finish preparing Jesus' body for burial. However, when they approached the entrance of the borrowed tomb, they saw that Jesus was missing. Later, Jesus appeared to Mary and told her that He was raised from the dead and instructed her to tell His disciples the "GOOD NEWS."
The moment of vindication and authentication had finally arrived. Jesus overcame death, hell, and the grave. This was the proof that all of mankind needed in order to know, beyond any doubt, the true identity of Jesus. There would no longer be any need to question Him or to look for another man to be their Messiah. The truth that Jesus had come back from the dead and walked among His people for forty days before His ascension was proof positive He was the Son of God; and that He had pleased the Father. It also gave the Jews and all of mankind the hope that there is life beyond the grave.
God, our heavenly Father, used death, which was the result of sin, to prove that He has all power over sin and death. Had it not been for the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, no one would have ever known the love that God has for humanity. We would have never known that God has authority over sin and death; and through His Son we can have victory over them as well. Aren't you thankful today that Jesus didn't listen to His disciples, who told Him to stay away from Jerusalem? Thank God for the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We shall live and not die, if we have placed our hope and faith in Him.
Happy Resurrection Day,
Pastor Asa Dockery