Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave. And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it. And his appearance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. The guards shook for fear of him and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you.”
And they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy and ran to report it to His disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him.
This week is holy week, the week we focus on the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I want to encourage you to take some time this week to reflect upon the reality of Good Friday and the joy of Sunday, the day of resurrection. This is our hope and the source of our joy.
There are three-word combinations that can change the course of our lives. For instance: “I love you.” “I am sorry.” “I am pregnant.” “It’s a boy.” “It’s a girl.” “Internal Revenue Service.” “You are fired.” “You are hired.” “You have cancer.” “He is gone.” “Your house sold.” “I have sinned.” “But God said.” These words can rock your world.
But the most powerful three words were spoken by the angel outside the tomb of Jesus. Matthew 28:6 “He is not here, for He Has Risen, just as He said.” Those words “He Has Risen” were the eternal game-changer for us. The resurrection proved that everything Jesus said was absolutely true. Death had finally been defeated with no more power to destroy forever.
Today we will focus on 6 things that “He Has Risen” changed.
I. The Calendar Changed
Jesus died on Friday and rose again on Sunday. The resurrection affected the calendar. The day of worship, the Sabbath (Saturday), was transformed into the Day of the Lord, Sunday, which is the day Jesus rose from the dead. Sunday is the Lord’s Day that we set aside for the purpose of worshipping our Lord with other believers in a local church. Further, Jesus’ birth divided time from BC (Before Christ) to AD (Anno Domini “the day of the Lord”). Every Sunday is a celebration of our resurrected Savior.
II. The Message Changed
If Jesus had not gotten up from the grave, the Bible would have a sad ending. Without the resurrection, there would be no good news.
I Corinthians 15:19
19 If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.
Because Jesus Christ is alive, we have the most powerful, life-transforming message ever. There is hope beyond the cemetery, there is life after death. Death no longer has the last word. The last enemy to be destroyed was death. Jesus’ resurrection announced that victory.
III. Religions Changed
The resurrection of Jesus proved that Jesus is right, the Bible is right, God is right. That means anything that contradicts that fact is wrong. Christianity begins where religions end, with the resurrection of Christ. The only truth to this: “All religions are basically the same at least in this respect, the founders of all major religions are still in the grave, yet Jesus’s grave is empty because He is alive. Buddha’s ashes are scattered to 84,000 shrines. Buddha is still there. Confucius is buried.”
IV. Death Changed
The empty grave of Jesus is a picture of the grave of a Christian. Here how death changed: Your soul no longer stays in the grave; the grave cannot hold it!
II Corinthians 5:8
8 we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.
The house you live in, your body, stays in the grave until one day when Jesus returns. Then your house will get a glorified renovation. Our bodies will be like the post-resurrection body of Jesus which knows no pain or limitations.
I Corinthians 15:18-19, 26, 55
18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.
26 The last enemy that will be abolished is death
55 O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?”
Death is no longer “The End.” However, you must make an advanced reservation for heaven.
V. People Changed
Those three words, “He Is Risen” give each person who receives Him the power to change. The Bible is filled with examples of those whose lives were dramatically altered once they met Jesus Christ. Paul is the best example: He went from being the chief persecutor of the Church to becoming the chief promoter and defender of the Church; and ultimately he give His life for Jesus. You cannot explain away a life changed as a result of meeting Jesus Christ.
VI. Circumstances Changed
Because of three words, “He has risen,” you don’t have to live a defeated life. The resurrection gives us the power to rise above our circumstances, to face our fears, to confront our worries, and to live with hope that because He lives, you can overcome temptations and conquer any stronghold. Because of three words, even our problems and difficulties have purpose (Romans 8:28).
Have a wonderful Easter and be sure you and your family are in God’s House this weekend celebrating the glorious resurrection. If you have been out of church for a while, this Sunday would be a great time to renew your commitment to leading your family to worship.