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"Sir, we wish to see Jesus" John 12:21
Resurrection Tomb   RESURRECTION - TOMB

Since Jesus’ body had been hastily buried on Friday before the start of the Sabbath at sundown, some of the women who had traveled with Jesus and provided for him out of their own means went to the tomb to finish the work of anointing and wrapping his body. They went at first light on Sunday morning and discovered the stone rolled away from the entrance of the tomb. Upon entering they did not find his body. It perplexed them, but not for long. For suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. The women were startled and terrified by this angelic visitation. Then the two delivered their message to the women saying, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.”

In Jesus’ day some Jews, but not all, believed in the resurrection of the dead. In his public teaching Jesus had sided with those who did believe in the resurrection. Those Jews who believed in the resurrection did not expect it to happen in this present age, but only at the close of this age when God would enter into a time for judgment of all people, both the living and the dead. Those judged righteous would pass over to life in the age to come and those not worthy would perish. For Jesus to rise from the dead signaled two things. God had judged him righteous and worthy, thus, overturning the judgment of men. And, the age to come had begun. It had broken into, so to speak, this present age. Jesus was the first fruits of the age to come and his resurrection signified a greater harvest to come.

Saul, whose name was later changed to Paul after he became a believer, trained under the most famous Rabbis of his own day. He believed in the resurrection of the dead before he believed in Jesus. After he became a believer he wrote extensively about Jesus’ resurrection. He said, for example, that if Messiah Jesus was not raised our faith would be in vain. Here he was pointing out that the purpose of Jesus’ sacrifice upon the cross would not have been fulfilled if he had not been raised. The resurrection was validation by God that both atonement for sins and deliverance from the power of evil and death had been achieved. Paul also said that the body in which he was raised was spiritual. Jesus wasn’t merely resuscitated to his former physical life, he was transformed into the new reality of the age to come where the physical is clothed with the spiritual. “So it is with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body.”

The resurrection of Jesus is the central tenant of the Christian faith. It is what inspires our faith and hope in a loving God who does not want any of his children to perish but has made provision that we might live, sharing in his own life. So Paul writes, “Listen, I will tell you a mystery! We will not all die, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead shall be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.” The fact that the resurrection of Jesus is the central tenant of the Christian faith is proclaimed by the fact that Christians worship on Sunday, the day of his resurrection, and Easter, the anniversary of his resurrection, is the highest holy day in the yearly calendar.

(Painted by Rubens)

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