I clearly remember the first time I visited ‘the Garden Tomb’ in Jerusalem and read the caption over the entrance, ‘He is not here for He has risen.’ We were able to stand in the entrance of the empty tomb and see the folded grave clothes – a replica of the real tomb which could not contain our wonderful Lord. I was overcome with awe and deep emotion as the wonder of the resurrection of Jesus overwhelmed me. In the tranquil beauty of the garden I found a place to be alone, to ponder afresh the incredible reality that Jesus died and rose again, and that one day He will return.
The early disciples were initially troubled, doubting, downcast and bewildered on the first Easter Day. They’d seen many miracles of healing as they followed Jesus, but the miracle of the resurrection was too incredible for them to believe. Then they met the risen Christ who walked and talked with them. He showed them the wounds of the cross in His resurrected body, and they were filled with overwhelming joy and peace.
It’s interesting that Christians often talk about the cross, and yet only speak about the resurrection once a year at Easter time. So let’s start looking beyond the tomb to our risen, glorified Lord, knowing that we’ve been raised with Him from our old life of sin to live in the power of His resurrection. The truth is that without the resurrection we have no good news of salvation to proclaim. The life and death of Jesus alone couldn’t provide salvation. The full Gospel includes the resurrection. As a familiar song goes, ‘If there were no resurrection, Jesus’ death would be in vain. But the Son of God is living, Satan’s power He overcame.’
Paul explains the consequences if there were no resurrection (1 Corinthians 15). He says preaching Christ would be useless, faith in Him would be futile, there could be no salvation and Christians would be deluded. But he exclaims that Christ has been raised from the dead; our faith is not in vain and one day we too will be raised to be with Him forever. This is hope that won’t disappointed.
Isn’t it amazing that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is the power of the Holy Spirit, which is given to every believer. It’s victorious power, because Jesus has won total victory over sin, death and all the powers of darkness. The truth is that, however we feel, we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us, died for our sins and was raised to life for our justification (Romans 4:25). Paul could say, and so can we, ‘I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection’ (Philippians 3:10). Indeed, without recognising the power of the Holy Spirit, who raised Jesus from the dead, we struggle and limp along life’s pathway, often downcast instead of full of hope, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17).
So this is a time for rejoicing, whatever our circumstances. Because Jesus died and rose again we have forgiveness of sins, and divine power to overcome sin, enabling us to live lives worthy of the Lord. Let’s ask for the desire to know Christ more, and for the power of His resurrection. ‘Heart knowing’ of Christ and the power of His resurrection can’t be separated. Our hope is that one day Jesus will come again. Whether we’re living or we’ve died when He comes, we too will be resurrected to reign with Him. ‘Hallelujah! What a Saviour.’
Prayer: Father, thank You for the plan of salvation. Thank You for the death and resurrection of Jesus. Thank You for saving me, and for giving to me Your Holy Spirit. Please put within my heart a deeper longing to know Jesus more intimately, that I may live day by day in the power of His resurrection, as I wait for His return. Amen.
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