Day Eight: Resurrection Sunday
Texts: (Matthew 28:1–20, Mark 16:1–8, Luke 24:1–53, John 20:1–21:25.)
Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed! O Happy Day! As we come to the end of our Holy Week devotional series, we truly have saved the best for last. We actually have come to the beginning. A new creation is begun. Today's theme is "transformation." What can be more transformative than Easter? If Jesus is raised from the dead, then what is impossible with God? May I ask you, where in your life do you need things to transform? Where in your life do you need God to breathe life into what has been dead? Your marriage? Your health? Your career? The resurrection is a sign that Jesus is making "all things new." (Rev 21:5) Past, Present and Future. Is there something in the past you wish God could forgive? The resurrection is like the receipt that the payment for sin made on the cross on Good Friday was accepted. Is there something in the present you need God to strengthen you for now? The resurrection power is at work in those who believe. (Eph 1:19-23) Is there something about the future that's causing you anxiety? Easter brings strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow. Easter changes everything! Let us consider one final passage from the gospel of Mark:
When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus' body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, "Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?" But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. "Don't be alarmed," he said. "You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, 'He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.' " Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid. (Mk 16:1-8, NIV)
Early Sunday morning, some of Jesus’ friends set out for his grave to anoint the body. When they arrive, however, they are surprised and greeted by an angel. He tells them Jesus is not there, “He is risen.” What is their response? They are afraid. Fear is a common response throughout the gospel of Mark. The disciples were afraid of Jesus when He calmed the sea. (Mk 4:40) The people of Gerasene were afraid of Jesus’ power to drive out demons. (Mk 5:17-20) They were afraid when they saw Jesus walking on the water. (Mk 6:50) The three disciples were afraid when they saw Jesus transfigured on the mountain. (Mk 9:6) Here once again, the women are afraid at his resurrection. What are they going to do? The Gospel of Mark ends with a call to courage and action in spite of our fears, trusting in the one who has conquered death. This is a good lesson. As we conclude this devotional, let us ask two questions:
- What does Easter mean about Jesus?
The central question in the gospel of Mark is “Who is Jesus?” What is his identity? The disciples asked earlier, “Who is this that even the winds and sea obey him?” (Mk 4:41) Pontius Pilate asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” (Mk 15:2) The High priest asked Jesus, “Are you the Christ, the son of the Blessed one?” (Mk 14:61) Jesus Himself asked the question, “Who do you say that I am?” (Mk 8:29) This is a question he asks of all of us as well. The resurrection of Jesus teaches us that He is exactly who He claimed to be, the Christ, the very son of God. (Mk 1:1)
- What does Easter mean for you?
If the resurrection occurred, then this has at least three major implications for your life, for the past, for the present and for the future.
First, it means your past sins can be forgiven. That's good news. I know a lot of people who can’t get on with the present and the future because they're stuck in the past. Some guilt or regret or something is tying them down. Jesus has good news, he says, “If you trust me, your past sins can be forgiven.”
Second, it means you can get through the present. Life is tough. I’ve heard it said that “Maturity is when you figure out that you can't have it all figured out.” Maturity is when you realize that you can't manage all that life is going to send you. Here’s the good news - Jesus can. I can't control everything in my life, but I know Jesus can. He can give you strength in the present.
Third, if Jesus raised from the dead it means You can have hope in the future. We all have one universal problem we have to face – its death. Everybody dies. When we trust in Jesus, he gives us hope beyond death, a secured future and a promised resurrection.
That's the difference that Christ can make for you through faith in Him. Why are you reading this blog today? Maybe you’re curious. Maybe it’s Easter so you thought you should read something spiritual. Or maybe God brought you here today. Perhaps He brought you here today so He could communicate something to you, so He could get you to sit still for a few minutes so He could say something to you. Listen very carefully, this is the message God has for you on Easter:
"You matter to Me. I understand everything about your life. I know you. I made you. I want to have a relationship to you. I sent My Son to die for you. I raised him up. I did all of this to make possible a restored relationship with you. I want you to get to know Me."
That's what Easter is all about. God knows you. He wants you to know Him. For all who place their hope in Him He knows you and He loves you. Easter changes everything. Will you place your faith and hope in Jesus this Easter? Easter changes everything.
Christ the Lord is ris’n today, Alleluia!
Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heav’ns, and earth reply, Alleluia!
Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once he died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia!
(Text: Charles Wesley, 1707–1788)
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for living, dying and rising for me. I believe you died for my sins, and rose from the dead. I place all my trust and hope in you. You are my savior and Lord. Amen.
If you'd like to learn more about evidence for the resurrection of Jesus, watch this video teaching by Dr. Gary Habermas, "The Resurrection Argument that changed a generation of scholars." If you'd like to learn more about beginning a transformative relationship with Jesus, please contact us at MBC, or join us online every Sunday for one of our worship services in person or online (here), we'd love to help you in your walk with Jesus.
Holy Week Devotionals: