Monday, November 15, 2010
The Empty Tomb.
Pontius Pilate was baffled as Joseph of Arimathea came to him and ask to take away the crucified body of Christ. "What do you want with the dead body?" Pilate ask. "I want to lay the body of Jesus into my own newly carved out tomb" Joseph replied. "But why"? Pilate ask, "You are a very old man, and it takes years to carve out another tomb. You may not have enough years left and you are willing to give up your tomb?" "Don't worry Joseph of Arimathea replied, He only needs it for the weekend".
Probably not the way the conversation went down on that day of the crucifixion, but I believe that Joseph of Arimathea knew in his heart that Christ would rise on the third day as prophesied by Jesus to His disciples. Even if he did not fully comprehend the things that had happened, the ministry and first coming of Christ, His brutal death on the cross, but something changed him. Joseph had become a believer. Just as Nicodemus who came to Jesus by night, became a follower of Christ, so also Joseph of Arimathea became convinced that Jesus was the promised Messiah. Both Nicodemus and Arimathea who were well respected Pharisees became born again. The impact of Jesus on their lives transformed these two men, they would never be the same. Many people had a life changing transformation by meeting Jesus, yesterday and today. He truly came to save the lost. The apostle Paul is another good example of a radical life transformation, a former persecutor and hater of the believers and followers of Jesus known as "The Way." Saul/Paul was a zealous Jew who hated the Christians with a passion and had them killed, arrested and persecuted. On the road to Damascus seeking to arrest Christians in the city, he met the risen Christ on the road. This encounter changed the man forever and he became the greatest missionary to the gentile world. Paul of course heard about the crucifixion, the death and burial of Christ and the story that was told about the the empty tomb and that Christ had risen. Paul was a changed man and he preached Christ crucified and resurrected. "For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified." 1Cr 2:2
Jesus died for the sin of the world, He rose and defeated death to give those who believe in Him forgiveness and eternal life. The Christian faith hinges on the resurrection of Jesus, if the resurrection did not occur, the Christian faith is empty. Paul addresses the death and the resurrection of Christ in 1 Corinthians 15.
"For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas (Peter), then by the twelve. 1Cr 15:3-5
There were those who denied the resurrection and Paul writes about the importance of the resurrection.
"Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!" 1Cr 15:12-17
Christianity without the resurrection is dead, as Paul said if Christ was not who He said He is, than we are still in our sins and the most pitiable people. Many unbelievers have tried to disprove the resurrection and have failed miserably and became believers in Christ. Do you believe that Jesus died on the cross for your sins? Do you believe that He rose and defeated death to give eternal life to those who believe? Have you ask Him for forgiveness and received Him in your heart?
Jesus is the only way to the Father, He came to die for mankind to reconcile all of us that believe to give us peace and eternal life. If you have not received Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, thinking that He was maybe a good man, a good teacher but nothing more, may i encourage you to look into the claims and promises of Jesus? Don't just listen to the media or so called intelligent people who think they have all the answers. Seek Him for yourself and you will find Him. The Bible says:
"In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you. "Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation." 2Cr 6:2
God does not want anybody to perish, you may say, "how do I know that God loves me?" Look at the cross and you know how much God loves you, He loves you so much that He gave His Son.
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16