The 7 Most Powerful Words – He Is Not Here; He Has Risen (40 Days of Easter Truth #40)
Easter Focus Passage: Matthew 28:1-8
1 After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it.
3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow.
4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.
6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.
7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”
8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples.
Easter Truth – DAY FORTY:
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is one of the most powerful events in all of history. It is the link by which sinful man can enter the presence of the Holy God. The resurrection bears great significance to us as Christians for if the resurrection had never happened, then our living and our faith would be in vain. The endpoint of our belief is in the fact that Jesus died, was buried, and then rose from the dead to sit on the right hand of God the Father.
When Mary Magdalene and the other Mary arrived at the tomb early that Sunday morning thousands of years ago, you can imagine that they approached it with much trepidation. The Jesus they had talked to, walked with, listened to, and told others about was gone. They had seen Him die. Logically, since death is the cessation of life, we couldn’t blame them if they thought for a moment that Jesus was gone forever. But by the fact that these women went to the tomb of a dead man, we can be certain that they knew something was different about Jesus and that death was not the end of the story.
The angel makes a powerful, earth-shaking entrance to the tomb of Jesus Christ and when Mary Magdalene and the other Mary arrive, the first thing He tells them is, “Do not be afraid.” This was a warning not only to them but is a warning to us as well. Why? Because when Jesus rose from the grave, He removed the need for us to worry, to fear, or to be anxious. Jesus rose from the dead and that means that everything will alright in Him. Christianity is the greatest love story of all. Since Jesus rose from the grave, we can receive the love of God into our lives, and His love coupled with peace gives us courage to face life with grace.
The angel proceeds to tell them that he already knows why they have come to the tomb. Their questions are about to be answered and their trepidation is about to be squelched with the angel’s next words. “He Is Not Here; He Has Risen.” These are the seven most powerful words that could ever be spoken. It is upon these words that the course of history changes. A dead Jesus leaves us in our current state of sin and wickedness; but a risen, living Jesus offers us hope for salvation and a beautiful, wonderful new life.
Campbell Morgan said, “The resurrection is the most stupendous, supernatural miracle that the world has ever known. It supercedes everything else – because if Jesus is not risen from the dead then everything else collapses!” Someone else said, “If Christ’s bones were still in Jerusalem, there would be no hope for anyone in the world – but His body is not there, He is alive, having been resurrected from the dead.” John Piper said, “There would have been no need for the resurrection if Jesus had not died; and there would be no saving significance to his death if he did not rise. Both are utterly crucial.”
The story is told of a little seven-year-old boy named Philip. Philip had Down Syndrome but he went to Sunday school faithfully. The children did not tease him for his disability but they were not eager to include him in their activities. The week before Easter Sunday, the teacher gave all the children plastic Easter eggs and told them to fill the eggs with something that represented Easter. On Easter Sunday, the children returned to their Sunday school class and handed their eggs to the teacher. The teacher began to open each egg and talk about how its contents represented the Easter story. One boy’s egg had a leaf, another boy’s egg had a stick, a girl’s egg had a flower, and so forth. The teacher soon came to an empty egg. Thinking that Philip did not understand the assignment, she set the egg aside and began to move on to the next egg. Philip noticed and spoke up, “Why won’t you talk about my egg?” The teacher said, “Well, Philip, I would, but your egg is empty. You didn’t put anything in it.” Philip replied, “So was the tomb. There was Someone in it but God took Him out.” From that day forward, the other children began including Philip in their activities. Several months later, Philip died and inside his casket, 19 empty plastic Easter eggs were placed. Philip had taught the teacher and his peers a lesson that day, and it is a lesson we all need to remember.
In nearly every other religion, we can find the tomb of its leader. The uniqueness of Christianity is that the tomb of its Leader is empty. It is the greatest fact of history. The power of Christianity is that the Lord Jesus “is not here; He is risen.” Jesus’ resurrection guarantees our new life and the resurrection of dead things in our lives. Death cannot overwhelm us and the grave cannot overtake us because Jesus Christ is risen and He lives forever.
Lord, let our hearts be tender and our spirits be humbled by the fact that You are not dead in a tomb but You are risen, alive and sitting on the right hand of God the Father. Your resurrection gives us hope and this hope is what we hinge our lives on. Forgive us of our sins, fill us with Your love, and make us bold witnesses who lovingly and willingly share Your salvation with others forever and ever. In Jesus’ name. Amen.