Christ the Lord is Risen Today!
by Dr. Ken Matto
(Luke 24:5-6 KJV) And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? {6} He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee,
Christianity is unique among world religions in that the grave of the founder cannot be found. I use the word religion as a comparative. Today we celebrate the greatest day of hope known to the entire human race because the Lord Jesus Christ walked out of the tomb a living person. On Friday He was placed in the tomb a dead body. Those who knew Him probably thought that this was the end. The somberness hovered over the city of Jerusalem, I am sure even those who had him put to death knew there was something different about this one. For when He died the veil of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. (Mark 15:38 KJV) "And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom." Even though it was the religious leaders who had schemed to have Christ executed, when they looked at the veil of the temple, they had to know something was distinct.
The Sabbath was closing in as it was getting close to evening so the body of Jesus was taken off the cross and was placed in a tomb unprepared for burial. Then came the 7th day Sabbath and all had to rest according to the law so there was no preparation of the body of Jesus for permanent burial. Then came the 1st of the new era of sabbaths when three women came to properly prepare the body of Jesus for a permanent burial. What a shock when the women came to the tomb. He was not there, the body was missing, what happened? Instantly the worst was thought. Did someone steal the body? Did someone move the body to prevent the disciples from taking it and then proclaiming He was risen? At this point I want to share with you six theories (and there are others) that have been propagated throughout history to try and explain what happened to the body of Jesus.
1) Fraud Theory
The Apostles invented it and Christ was a clever crook who read the OT Messianic Prophecies and arranged to fulfill them.
How could Christ have arranged the place of His birth?
2) The Swoon Theory
He merely fainted on the cross and was revived in the tomb.
When the spear was stuck deep in His side, wouldn’t this have fatal application? When the water and blood came out it is said that the spear punctured the pericardium. This would have been fatal without the severe scourging and nailing to the cross. This has to be one of the most stupid ones ever concocted. Think about it for a minute. If Christ was revived in the tomb, then He would have had to move the stone by himself, then in the condition He was in would have had to fight off tough Roman soldiers to get passed them and leave. If He succeeded in doing all that, then where did He go?
3) Vision Theory
The followers of Jesus were under some kind of drug and only thought they saw Him.
1 Corinthians 15:6 states that He appeared to about 500 at one time. My that must have been some drug party.
4) Spirit Theory
Jesus rose only in Spirit.
Luke 24:37-43 says that Jesus ate a fish and some honeycomb. How could a spirit eat? This theory is believed today by many cults who disbelieve the bodily resurrection. The new age movement also teaches that Christ has ascended to a higher plane of existence and is up there with teachers like Buddha and Confucius.   The Jehovah's Witnesses believe this.
5) Heart Theory
This theory states that Jesus rose only in the hearts of his followers.
This theory is another absurd assertion since the Scriptures in Luke 24:9-11 state that His disciples did not even believe that He rose from the dead. So if He rose in their hearts, then it would be paradoxical to say He didn’t rise.
6) Stolen Body Theory
This theory states that the disciples went to the tomb and stole the body then moved it.
However this theory falls short because the disciples would have had to either bypass or attack and kill the soldiers guarding the tomb. This, of course, would be absurd because the disciples were in fear and hiding which was a fulfillment of the prophecy found in Zechariah.
(Zec 13:7 KJV) Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones.
(Mark 14:27 KJV) And Jesus saith unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.
Satan hates the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ and has done what he could, through his disciples, to deny it and downplay it. The word for "resurrection" in the New Testament is the word "anastasis" (anastasis). The English word anesthesia comes from this word. Whenever you undergo an operation the anesthesiologist is the one who puts you under and then revives you but while you are under, your life is in his hands. If he gives you too much, you may die. If he gives you too little, you may wake up in the middle of the operation. Wouldn’t that make your day? So basically when your operation is over and you come out of the anesthetic, you are being resurrected.
Let us now look at what the meaning of the resurrection is to the true believer. How does it affect the true Christian. I want to give 4 things that death has no claim on and 5 things which death is and this is all because of the resurrection of Christ.
In The Believer’s life, death has no:
(Rom 1:4 KJV) And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:
While death may seem like it has the final say, we see from numerous places in Scripture that God has the authority over death. The Scriptures do not call God the God of the dead but rather of the living.
(Mat 22:32 KJV) I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.
I once heard Billy Graham state that he was not afraid of death but it was the process of death he feared. He was speaking of the final pains our earthly body suffers as it makes its journey toward death. Whenever we begin that final journey, it seems that death has taken hold and has ruled over us. The physical body is subject to death, but thanks be to God our spirit will never see death.
Right to Claim and hold any Believer
(2 Cor 5:8 KJV) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
Because the Lord Jesus rose from the dead, death cannot hold any of God’s children. As soon as our earthly body fails, we go into the presence of the Lord Immediately. Since we have been given eternal life, death has lost its grip on us. This is personal but ever since I became a Christian, I cannot picture myself in a casket. Since I am a Christian all I know is life and death is now foreign to me. I cannot even grasp the concept of cessation of life especially when the Bible is so clear that Christians live forever.
(1 Cor 15:52 KJV) In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
Although the body of the believers may lie in a grave, when God shall sound on the last day, then death must give up even the physical bodies of the Saints. All the modern preparations such as the casket and the vault will not hold God’s redeemed treasures from soaring to Pisgah’s glorious heights for all eternity where they shall bask in the presence of the One who redeemed them.
(1 Cor 15:54-55 KJV) So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. {55} O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
The Scripture asks the question, "O grave, where is thy victory?" Death has been defeated for all eternity and has no victory over the children of God. For when we tread the waters of Jordan, our Savior waits on the other side with his hands wide open to welcome His redeemed children to their everlasting home. (2 Pet 1:11 KJV) For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
In The Believer’s Life, Death is:
Blessed Rest
(Rev 14:13 KJV) And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.
In Heaven there shall be no more death and no more works which will cause us bodily pain, martyrdom, sickness, or separation. The works which follow us are those whom the Lord saved through the ministries He gave us. They are the gold, silver, and precious stones we read about in 1 Corinthians 3. The labours which we rest from is the arduous task of evangelizing the world. On my Grandmother’s funeral card, it said, "Mary Czok Entered Into Eternal Rest on September 25, 1961." I never knew what that statement really meant until I became a Christian and read the above verse.
(Phil 1:21 KJV) For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
The Apostle Paul knew that the things of this world were a hindrance and a cloaking of the glory of God. Paul knew that the believer would have great advantage if they die because that would usher them into the presence of the Lord and they would leave the encumbering world behind, never more to face the sorrows and sadness of life. (Psa 16:11 KJV) Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
(Prov 14:32 KJV) The wicked is driven away in his wickedness: but the righteous hath hope in his death.
(1 Th 4:13 KJV) But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
The believer has great hope in their death but the wicked will have only the second death to look forward to. The reason why we do not look forward to our death is because all we ever knew was this world and we are somehow fearful about making the transition to heaven even though we know in our spirits that our heavenly home is a wonderful place filled with joy and peace. There is no hope in the death of the wicked since their whole life was tied to this world but the believer, since were just strangers and pilgrims on earth will finally be home where we belong, in a place of righteousness and holiness, far removed from the Satan and his sycophants. (Prov 11:7 KJV) "When a wicked man dieth, his expectation shall perish: and the hope of unjust men perisheth." The believer on the other hand is just beginning the wonderful, eternal life which God has promised them. (Luke 18:30 KJV) "Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting."
(Luke 16:22 KJV) And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;
It was a bleak world for a beggar in ancient times and the attitude of the rich has not changed in 2000 years. The rich man saw Lazarus at his door every day and did not share with him save a few crumbs from his already eaten meals. Then comes the great equalizer as there is no social status in death, for death is blind and knows not the social status of a person. Lazarus was a poor man according to worldly standards, in fact, being a beggar, he was the low of the low. The rich man had it all, good food, a nice home, all the luxuries which wealth could afford. Well one day he died and so did Lazarus, but the great distinction was now reversed. Lazarus was a believer and the rich man was not, so the rich man went to hell and Lazarus went to glory. On an earthly judgment, it seemed like the rich man had incurred the favor of God since he had so much while Lazarus incurred disfavor with God because of his lowly estate. Yet, when they both died the reality became clear that Lazarus had triumphed in death because of his position in Christ and the rich man had not. When the true believer enters heaven, they have triumphed over hell and Satan, never more to be harassed nor tempted by him or to have the wicked rule over them.
(Psa 116:15 KJV) Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.
The idea behind the word precious is that of a precious or rare jewel, in that they are highly desired. When a believer dies, it means that one of God’s children is coming home forever. God views every one of His children as a rare and precious jewel as we saw in 1 Corinthians 3. He knows the fear we face when it comes time to die which is because of our fleshly nature but He guides us through until we reach those heavenly shores. There is coming a day when the last one is saved and God shall sound the trumpet and all His children shall come forth to the throne and there adore Him forevermore.
Christ the Lord is Risen Today!! He is Risen Indeed!!