1 CORINTHIANS 15:1-9
This Sunday we will be celebrating Pentecost. Something new happened at that time of the coming of the Holy Spirit. But 50 days earlier something else new took place and that is the resurrection of Christ.
We often look at Jesus dying on Friday, but how can that be if He spent three days and nights in Hades? Bible scholars say that Jesus must have died on Friday because they did not want anyone hanging on the cross during the Sabbath which would start on the evening of Friday at sunset.
However this seems to have been a special Sabbath and when we look at it – Jesus must have died on Wednesday before sunset and was buried, and if this is true then He had to rise between sunset and midnight on Saturday. This is why we worship on Sunday.
The question that comes to my mind is where Jesus went during those three days and 2 nights. His body was in the tomb, but His spirit was free. We are given the answer in 1 Peter 3:18-20. “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison, who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water.” Evidently, he went and preached to the people (spirits) who were drowned in Noah’s flood.
When we think of the Resurrection how do we know that it really happened? We do not have any physical evidence or scientific evidence. There was no way we could measure it scientifically. So how do we know? We do have what is known as legal proofs that David Pawson brings out. In this there are two things: eyewitnesses as well as circumstantial evidence.
Often in eyewitness accounts there will be different perspectives. No two eyewitnesses will bring out the same thing. For example, when my brother and sister got killed in a car accident my other sister and her fiancé along with me saw the accident. But when we gave an account, we did not bring out the same details, but different perspectives of what happened. Having these different perspectives made the eyewitness more believable. If the three of us had said the same thing then it would seem like we have made it up.
When we examine the eyewitnesses of the resurrection, we see that there are different perspectives and details that are brought out. We see this with the four Gospels, and this is what makes the Resurrection of Christ believable.
When a witness comes forward to testify, they bring about a number of incidents or circumstances that seems to point to the same thing that proves the reality of the event.
What circumstances do we see with the resurrection of Christ?
First, of all we do not see any conspiracy during the whole life of Christ until the Resurrection.
Secondly, we see the change with boldness of disciples. Before they were hiding in fear, but now we find them preaching in the streets of Jerusalem with boldness. What happened?
Thirdly, we see a large number of Jews changing from Saturday to Sunday to worship. Why? What happened? Changing the day when Jews would worship was difficult. It would be like getting the Muslims to worship on Monday instead of Friday. Fourthly, we see lives that have been changed. I have seen this all over the world. Again, what happened? Fifthly, we see the grave clothes and how they were laid out when Peter and John went to the tomb. We know from the burial of Lazarus whom Jesus raised from the dead on the fourth day that they had to release him from his burial clothes. When they buried a person, they wrapped him in layers of long sheets, laden with perfumes, etc., that would go to his shoulders leaving the face bare but would have the top of the head wrapped in a cloth. When they saw the burial cloth laying the way it was it showed a Resurrection of the body. They did not have to unwrap Jesus.
The Resurrection showed the world who He was and His purpose. He died at the age of 33 and we are told that we will be like Him. It would seem to indicate that when we are resurrected, we too will be in the prime of life as Jesus was at 33 for all eternity!
The Resurrection also showed that God is doing something new. Didn’t He say that He makes all things new? When Jesus came the first time a body was prepared for Him in the womb of Mary, but in the tomb God prepared, created a new body for Jesus.
Because of the resurrection we have a new relationship with God, we can now enter the Holy of Holies and call Him Father. We can talk with Him and He with us. Someone asked a man how he knew that Jesus is alive and he replied: “I just talked with Him.”
There will be two resurrections separated by a thousand years. The first resurrection is for the righteous and second for the unrighteous. There will also be two separate places. The righteous will be with God, but unrighteous will be without God. Since God is light and there is no God then it is complete blackness. We see Daniel, John and Paul all talking about this.
Revelation 22:20 “He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.”
Revelation 21:1 “Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea.”
Revelation 21:5 “Then He who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’”
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth and on 6th day He created man. In the Resurrection we see the reverse. God, in the tomb of Jesus, made a new man and then after He makes a new heaven and new earth. Why? God will reveal to us in the age to come. Blessed, the Scriptures say, are those who partake of the first resurrection.