(Mark 16:1-6 NIV) When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Solome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb… As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here.”
This morning we continue our PASSION WEEK mini-series. Jesus died a brutal death on the cross for all humanity, but remember that no one took His life. Jesus freely gave His life for our sin. After Jesus’ death, they took the body down from the cross, wrapped it in linen cloth, together with spices, and placed it in a borrowed tomb that had never been used. Joseph of Arimathea (the owner of the tomb) and Nicodemus prepared the body. The two men placed Jesus’ body in the tomb and left. This is where we pick up our text.
The women went looking for Jesus’ body, but they did not find it. The body was not there because Jesus had risen from the dead! This is what we will truly celebrate on Sunday morning. Resurrection Sunday is about the empty tomb that became the Good News of the gospel for all eternity. That empty tomb gives Christians all over the world the spring in our step. That empty tomb is the fuel in our fire, the air in our lungs, and the wind beneath our wings! Without the empty tomb there is no Christianity. Without the empty tomb we have no hope. Without the empty tomb our message is just a story. Paul said it this way, “And if Christ wasn’t raised to life, our message is worthless, and so is your faith” (I Cor 15:14 CEV).
The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the single most important event in the history of history. The resurrection of Jesus is what separates our religion from every other religion in the world. We don’t serve an idol. We don’t serve a man. We don’t serve a dead God. We serve a Living Savior – Jesus is His name! Over the nearly 2,000 years since many have tried to discredit and discount the validity of Jesus’ Resurrection. As one of my mentors, Dr. Charlie Parmer put it, “The most telling affirmation of the validity of His literal Resurrection was and is the dramatic change that it produced in the lives of those followers. From the weak, wavering, faltering, denying group of fishermen, tax collectors, etc.; the twelve plus the others became the most zealous, faithful, dynamic group who ever lived. They literally became burning evangels for the cause of Christ; and they totally turned the world up side down for Him over the next 71 plus years. They were condemned, threatened, imprisoned, beaten, and commanded to be silent; but they just got right back out on the streets and just started preaching Jesus again – alive by Promise, dead by Purpose, Resurrected by (God’s) Power, and reigning for our good Measure and Pleasure!”
So what does this mean to you today? A few things:
1. Jesus’ victory over death liberates us to reign over death as well. Jesus took the sting out of death (1 Cor 15:55).
2. Christianity is the only religion with a living Savior. Mohammed, Buddha, Ghandi, etc. all died and remained dead.
3. To be a Christian you must have a personal encounter with our Living Savior. You can be a Muslim without ever meeting Mohammed, you can be a Buddhist without ever meeting Buddha, but if you are going to be a Christian you have to meet Christ for yourself!
Closing Confession: Father, I thank You for sending Jesus to die so that I could live. Jesus walked the earth as the only sinless human ever. He lived a sinless life and He was later convicted and killed, not because of anything that He did, but because of what I did. He died for me. After three nights and three days You raised Jesus from the dead with all power in His hand. You made Jesus Lord in heaven, in earth, and under the earth. I now live for Him, in Him, with Him, and through Him. It is in You that I live, move and have my being. Jesus’ victory over death means that death has no victory over me. I am dead to self, alive to Christ, and I know that I will live forever in You and with You. I love you with all my heart and I serve You all my days. Help me to share Your love, Your light and Your resurrection power with the world today! I serve a living Savior… Jesus is His name, and this living Savior is my Lord, my rock and my redeemer. I know my Savior lives. How do I know Father? I know because He lives IN me. I will be His legs to walk, His mouth to talk, and His body to operate through today. There is no other name given under heaven, in earth, whereby men must be saved, except the name of Jesus. You have given Him a name that is highly exalted and I seek to exalt it daily through my life and living. Jesus it he Lord of my life and there is coming a day when every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess that Jesus the Christ is Lord! Until then, I share the goodness of Jesus everywhere I go! I declare this by faith. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
This is Today’s Word. Apply it and Prosper!