What are some things about the Resurrection you may or may not know?
The Burial Linens and Facecloth
In John 20:3-8, it says, “When Peter and the other disciple went forth, and they were going to the tomb. The two were running together; and the other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter and came to the tomb first; and stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings lying there; but he did not go in. And so Simon Peter also came, following him, and entered the tomb; and he saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself. So the other disciple who had first come to the tomb then also entered, and he saw and believed.” The interesting fact here is that when the disciples went into the tomb, Jesus was gone, but the linen wrappings were folded up and the facecloth was rolled up as if to say, “I don’t need these anymore, but I will leave things lying separately but placed strategically and organized.” The implications are that Jesus must have done this himself, as if He simply moved through the wrappings, apparently without a struggle. If Jesus’ body had been stolen, as some claim, the thieves would not have taken the time to remove the wrappings or roll up the face cloth.
Five Hundred Plus Eyewitnesses
In 1st Corinthians 15:3-6, Paul writes, “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep.” Jesus also appears to His half-brother, James (1 Corinthians 15:7), to the ten disciples (John 20:19-23), to Mary Magdalene (John 20:11-18), to Thomas (John 20:24-31), to Cleopas and a disciple (Luke 24:13-35), once again to the disciples but this time all eleven of them (John 20:26-31), and to seven disciples by the Sea of Galilee (John 21:1). If this were part of a courtroom testimony, this would be considered absolute, conclusive evidence.
The Rolled Away Stone
Jesus or the angels rolled away the stone at Jesus’ tomb not so He could get out, but so others could get in and see that the tomb was empty, testifying to the fact that He had risen. The stone was 1-1/2 to 2 two tons and would have taken many strong men to move. The tomb was sealed and guarded by Roman guards, so to believe that the disciples secretly came at night, overpowered the Roman guards, and snatched Jesus’ body away so that others would believe in the resurrection is ridiculous. The disciples were in hiding, afraid that they would be next, and kept their door locked, as it says, “On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’” (John 20:19). Now if the tomb had not been empty, claims of the resurrection could not have been maintained for even one hour, knowing that people in Jerusalem could have gone to the tomb to check for themselves.
Jesus’ Death Opened the Tombs
At the very moment Jesus yielded up His Spirit, meaning that He died voluntarily (Matt 27:50), the temple curtain was torn from the top down (Matt 27:51a). This indicated the end of the separation between the holy of holies (representing God’s presence) and man being accomplished by Jesus’ torn body (Isaiah 53), but then something very supernatural happened. “The earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many” (Matt 27:51b-53). Jesus’ death allowed the saints of old and those of us today to not be bound by death or held by the grave. No wonder “the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, ‘Truly this was the Son of God’” (Matt 27:54)! That would make a believer out of me if I hadn’t already been one!
Jesus’ sinless life, death, and resurrection ended the separation between us and God that our sins had created. We believe that He will come again and that those who have died in the faith and are now with the Lord and those of us still alive will join the King of kings and be part of His kingdom of which there will be no end (Isaiah 9:7; Luke 1:33).
May God richly bless you,
Pastor Jack Wellman
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