Rev E Stegen
Today is the resurrection day of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is our day. The day of our power. This day gave the devil a knockout blow. This is the Chirstian’s day. Have any leaders of different organisations died and lived again? No, after death, they are put in a mortuary, then buried and eaten by worms. Great men’s bones are in their graves. Our hero has risen from the dead. It is a historical fact that Jesus rose from the dead. We cannot doubt. If you doubt, go to a mental asylum and receive medication for your mental issues. When the priests bribed the Roman soldiers to tell the people that Jesus’ body was stolen at night, they did not realise that it was a stupid plan because what Roman soldier would ever sleep on duty?
Jesus has risen. At the tomb he revealed his Lordship. He entered hell and showed Himself as Lord and King. He revealed Himself to many people on earth. He ascended into heaven and showed His Lordship there as well. This is a day of victory. If He had not risen then everything we believe in is useless. The Christians of old greeted one another with the greeting He has risen. His resurrection nullified every other religion. Is there a depressed Christian? How can you be if He has risen? If Jesus is alive, how can you be depressed? If you have a dead leader, you may be depressed but with Jesus you can laugh and smile. Blessed is the one whose Lord is Jesus Christ.
Today, it is proclaimed across the world that Jesus has risen.
Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 2 And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4 And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. 5 But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.” Matthew 28:1-7
On the first day after the Sabbath, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary arrived at the tomb of Jesus. This Mary was not his mother. (It may have been the mother of Joseph and James, or the sister of Mary the mother of Jesus, the wife of Clopas.) They saw a man who came down from heaven like lightning. He was dressed in snow white garments and seated on the stone that he had rolled away. He had not rolled it away so that Jesus could get out of the grave, He could not be stopped by a stone. It had been rolled away so that people could enter and see the grave clothes. No gravestone can stop Jesus. When the disciples were in a locked room, Jesus entered.
The Roman soldiers fell like dead. What made them tremble in fear? The resurrection, the angel. If you live a Barabbas-type of life, you will also face this lightning one day. These Roman soldiers were highly trained men. They were fanatically faithful on guard duty, even if a wall fell on them, they never moved from the spot they had been commanded to stand in. When that lightning came down, these soldiers were like dead men. They ran to the priests and told them what had happened, and they then bribed the soldiers to say that Jesus’ body was stolen while they slept.
When the women came, they were also fearful. The man said four things to them: 1. Have no fear. How can you fear if Jesus has risen. His resurrection dispels our fear. Can you fear tomorrow, men who reject God, people who reject Jesus and remove Him from the school system? Such people are playing around, and they will meet with Him one day. You cannot resist His kingdom. A Christian is on the winning side - you cannot fear. 2. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. As He said. 3. Come, see… They entered and had a look. 4. Run and tell His disciples that He has risen. You might not be a runner at all, but if you hear this news you would not run slowly. He said, make haste, run and tell his disciples that he has risen.
I am thankful that I am not in the group that denied Him. Which group is right? After Easter you cannot ask such a question. He has risen. He has conquered. He is the Lord of lords, the King of kings, the President of presidents. Blessed is the one who believes in Jesus. He is on the path of victory. He is more than a conqueror.
…for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here, for he has risen, as he said.
The disciples should not have been behind locked doors. This was not the end, it was the beginning. They wept, they shook in fear, they were ashamed to look the world in the eyes - they had forgotten what Jesus had said. Remember what the lightning that came from heaven said: as He told you before. Don’t even forget what Jesus has said. Only he who stands on what Christ has said is on solid ground. Everything else is sinking sand. Storms will try and move you but if you stand on what Jesus has said, the rock of His words, you will stand firm. All nations stand firm on this rock of what he has said. As time goes by you will see people swept past you, kingdoms come and go, but if you stand on the words Jesus has said, you will be unmoving. Stand firm. Remember what Jesus has said.
Rev Prokonov, a Russian bishop, recently visited and he told this story. There was a railway track on some English mountains. Trains travelled on the tracks and there was a small station at which the train never stopped unless a passenger wanted to alight there. On this train journey was a lady with her child. The guard came by and asked the passengers who would alight at that station. She said that she would and the guard told her to get her things together and be ready to alight. A stranger arrived and said that he knew the area well and would tell her when to get off the train. (There are many people who know.) He told the guard not to worry as he would tell her. The lady was again told by the guard to get ready to alight. The train suddenly stopped and the stranger told the lady that this was the time for her to leave the train. She got off and the train continued. 20 minutes later, the guard asked for the lady and her child and he was told that she had already left when the train stopped. The guard was horrified and said that the lady and her child would die there because of the cold weather. The train had not stopped because there was a station, it had stopped because there was a technical fault. She died because she listened to the stranger.
Millions of people are dying because they are listening to the wrong man, a stranger who says, ‘I know. You don’t need to listen to the guard.’ This is our guard – the word of God. Listen to the word of Jesus Christ, He is our leader. We should have no time for anyone else. The guard will tell you. If a stranger comes – you do not know where he comes from or where he is going to - you are swept off your feet. Do not listen to wrong voices.
The man who had come down said He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. We make the mistake of doing the wrong things. We do not build on the foundation of God’s word.
How will a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. Psalm 119:9
Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it. Luke 11:28
God said to Joshua that he should not part from God’s word. (Joshua 1:8)
Our Bible today is the news. This is why people fail and weep because their trust is not built on Jesus Christ. This is the only kingdom which remains forever – the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. Man, woman, child, listen to the voice of the guard and live. Listen to the stranger and you will die.
The lightning came down and said, ‘He has risen as He said that He would. Do not seek Him among the dead.’ Why is it dark? Why is the sun setting? Why are the disciples of Jesus downhearted and hiding behind locked doors? They had forgotten what Jesus said. Don’t ever forget. Remember. Jesus and His word never pass away. This is the way. This is the bridge. Stand on what Jesus has said even if the whole world turns against you. When this news of Jesus’ resurrection came, jails and locked doors opened. They were comforted. That was the end of their inferiority complex. If the Lord is with you what can you fear? Who can oppose? Jesus opens and closes. He has every leader in His hand. All the nations are like a drop in a bucket. The messenger to the women said, ‘Do not fear.’ The Roman soldiers trembled in fear. The Pharisees were afraid and lied and through that they exposed their shame.
What is the best thing in the world? To be a Christian and serve a God who is alive. He rose from the dead and all power has been given to Him. You can face any nation because Jesus has risen. This is a fact. We don’t have ancestral spirits we must bring offerings to.
Jesus revealed himself when they were fishing. He instructed them to fish on the other side of the boat and then they caught fish. He called them to have breakfast with Him on the beach where He had prepared a fire and was cooking a fish. He told Thomas to put his hands in His wounds and then He believed. There is no privilege as great as knowing that Jesus has risen from the dead. How can you fear death because Jesus rose, and you will rise with Him. If the enemies of the cross want to kill us, we will rise again. Must we fear death? Monkeys will fall over like dead as the Roman soldiers did if they see a rubber snake. Monkeys are afraid of snakes. A Christian does not fear death because Jesus has conquered it. You can fear a bee because it can sting you, but if the strong has been removed you no longer fear the bee. Jesus took the sting. We do not fear death. If a person puts a gun to your head, it will not go off unless God allows it. If He allows it, you will be with Jesus in heaven. There is an army that conquers, there is a party that conquers, and it is the one of Jesus Christ. His party is number one. His is the kingdom. He is the King of kings. Through him, we do not need to fear the snake, the scorpion or the poison.
Jesus lives. Have you experienced it? If not, you are in the grave of sin. Blessed is the man who has experienced that He lives. Is the power of His resurrection at work in you? Whites often suffer from depression; they do not know the One who lives. Depressed people are burdened because they look inside themselves. ‘We thought Jesus was going to conquer the world and restore the kingdom but now He is dead.’ How foolish Christians can be, including the women! They all said He was dead, but the criminal on the cross knew He was alive. He said, ‘Lord, when You enter Your kingdom, please remember me.’ But His disciples did not understand it until they heard the news that He had risen.
Wernher von Braun, German mathematician and scientist spoke to university students about Jesus. A student asked, ‘Mr von Braun, how is it possible that a person with all your brains, believe in God but you cannot explain on paper that He exists?’ How can you believe in God, but you cannot prove scientifically that He exists? He laughed at the students and said, ‘Do you want me to light a candle so you can see the sun?’
There is no greater proof that God exists than this fact that He rose from the dead. You can test it from every angle. You cannot doubt it unless you have a lose screw. Read your Bible, go into the evidence. You must be mad not to believe it. He has risen. Has he risen in you? If you have not experienced the resurrection, may this day be the day you experience it. Believe what He says. It will new meaning to your life. It will bring a spring into your step, and you will never be the same again in this world and the world to come. Let everyone hear that He has risen. Where are the disciples who say, ‘He has risen.’
This is our day, Christian. We should shout and trumpet the news that Jesus has risen. Shout out with your life that Jesus has risen. Wife with your husband – your life should shout out this fact. Children and teachers should see that Jesus has risen in you or what has risen in you?
Let this be a great day. Roll away that stone and ask Jesus to enter your life. If you have not allowed Jesus to enter your life, you will be the most miserable person in this world. If you have nothing but Jesus, no one is a privileged as you. Jesus will be with you. He will get you to the real station. If strangers counsel you, have an ear to hear what Jesus has to say and His word. The women ran home and as they ran, they met Jesus Himself. Believe what Jesus says to you. Meet Him. There is nothing as wonderful as this life on earth with Jesus.