A new day dawned, and with it the women who served and so loved the Lord Jesus looked forward to a sad duty of love. The prospect of a dismal future lay before them–a future without a living Lord.
They made their way out to the tomb where they were certain the body of the Lord lay awaiting their ministrations of final anointing. They could not see past death and the grave. They did not possess the hope of the resurrection. Although Jesus had already risen, for all they knew Jesus was dead and not risen.
For us it may sound a bit mind-boggling, but there are increasing numbers of people within what is called Christendom today who question the reality of the Savior’s resurrection. Indeed, the vast majority of people in the world today do not believe that there is such a thing as a bodily resurrection for anybody, Christ included. Many choose the fantasy of believing in reincarnation. Many others choose to believe that at death one simply ceases to exist–that is the end of the story.
What a dismal prospect comes with such hopeless unbelief that there is no resurrection!
The apostle Paul speaks to the hopelessness of that scenario: “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! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable” (1 Cor. 15:16-19).
A Blessed Reality!
There are so many today who would have our Christian faith be about this life only. One look at how miserable the women were on their walk out to the sepulcher confirms the words of Paul. That would be most pitiful.
But when the women heard the angel declare, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen” (Lk. 24:5-6), their misery disappeared, their sorrow was turned to joy. This is also our joy as we again hear the words, “The Lord is risen indeed” (Lk. 24:34).
This is not wishful thinking, or (as some say) a mere continuation of His loving spirit in the teaching of the apostles. It is rather the blessed reality of our salvation!
“But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Cor. 15:20-22).
In the physical resurrection of Jesus from the dead, we find the dismal hopelessness of unbelief vanquished by the joyful hope of our resurrection to eternal life! He died and rose again to make this reality–there IS a resurrection!
This resurrection of all the dead has already begun in the person of Jesus Christ, “the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” Just as surely as He has risen from the grave, we too shall rise at His coming. HALLELUJAH!
–Pastor Theodore Barthels