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The sun was shining and there was a brisk breeze, Sunday morning, as Bethany Baptist folks gathered to celebrate Resurrection Day. There was special music presented by the Youth Choir in the morning service and the Jubilee Singers in the evening. The songs and the messages focused on the Crucifixion and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, which are the most important events in history for Christians. Pastor Bob Sorensen brought his message from Matthew 28:1-6, which states, “He is Risen.”
Jesus had told his disciple that he would be killed and be raised again the third day. He had even told the scribes and Pharisees that there would be no sign given it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas, that as Jonas had been three days and three nights in the whales belly, so he the Son of man would be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. Why was three days significant? The Jewish people believed that corruption started on the fourth day. It was also significant because Jesus had spoke of it so many times.
What is the importance of the Resurrection? According to 1 Corinthians 15, if there was no resurrection our faith would be in vain. We would still be doomed for hell. If Jesus were not raised from the dead, he would be no better than the religious leaders whose graves are honored around the world. Christianity stands on the resurrection. If Jesus did not arise from the dead, then Christianity is a dead religion.
What is the proof of the Resurrection of Jesus? The fact of the empty tomb, the eye witness accounts of many witnesses who stayed by their testimony even facing a martyr’s death, and the change that occurs in the lives and habits of people who have accepted Jesus into their hearts. There is also the testimony of elderly Christians, who tell how God has carried them through. There is the testimony of dying Christians who have said, “I am going to a better place.”
The purpose of the Resurrection was to give assurance to the believers. He had to arise or be seen as a fraud. His followers, who had fled when he was arrested, were given new confidence when they saw Jesus after his resurrection. His resurrection proved that he was indeed the Son of God with power over death and the grave. Because he arose from the dead, we can believe that we will arise again in the latter day as promised. Jesus kept his word in this matter, so we know his word is true about all things. Because he said that he was coming again, we can believe that he is coming again.
Satan may have thought that he had won the long war with God, when Jesus’ lifeless body was laid into the tomb. The disciples also despaired and maybe some waited in worry as the British did when word was being relayed after the battle between Wellington and Napoleon. The lights had spelled out the words, “Wellington defeated,” when a fog arose to block the view. They waited anxiously. Was that the end of the message? When the fog cleared the message was seen, “Wellington defeated Napoleon.” After the crucifixion it looked like the outcome was “Christ defeated,” but when Resurrection day came, it was seen that “Christ defeated Satan.”