Matt. 27: 62The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. 63“Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, `After three days I will rise again.’ 64So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.” … MT 28:2There 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. 3His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. 5The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6He is not here; he has risen, just as he said…”
When news spread among the Roman guards that Jesus rose from the dead, the Jewish priests and elders were greatly troubled. They knew that they had put to death an innocent man. And whether they liked it or not, the time of reckoning had come. This was the moment they all feared. Jesus claimed that he would rise from the dead, and so anticipating that the followers of the Lord would resort to desperate measures to “stage” this resurrection by stealing Jesus’ corpse, they had heavily secured the burial site. But the time had come. It was God’s time to vindicate Christ. It was the appointed season to reveal the glory of Jesus – – – that he was truly who he claimed he was – – – the promised Messiah, the Christ, the Son of the Living God. In sheer panic, they schemed to cover-up the truth. They bribed the soldiers to lie and say that the body of Jesus did not resurrect, but it was stolen while they were sleeping.
Just like all lies, the conspiracy between the Romans guards and the religious leaders eventually collapsed. After three days, the tomb of Jesus was empty. He had risen from the dead just as he said. No matter how the conspirators tried to make their lie airtight, it simply cracked under the pressure of truth. Jesus rose from the dead. In the next 40 days, he would be seen and heard by many. The Bible documents 10 post- resurrection appearances of Jesus. He appeared to Mary Magdalene; to two travelers on the road to Emmaus; to Peter in Jerusalem; to 10 disciples in the Upper Room; to 7 disciples fishing on the Sea of Galilee; to 11 disciples on the mountain in Galilee; to more than 500 men later; to his brother James; and finally to a number of his disciples in Mount Olives just before he ascended to heaven before their very eyes.
A liar is not just one who makes untruthful statements. A liar is one who makes untruthful statements with an intention to deceive. Throughout the ministry of Jesus, he was always questioned about his intentions. Some thought that his intention was to build a kingdom for himself. Some thought that his intention was to make trouble for the religious authorities. Some even said that his intention was to usher in a new kind of religious movement by the use demonic powers. But you see, these were all not true. Jesus’ true intention was to seek and save the lost. His intention was to fulfill God’s salvation-plan. All his actions were pure, holy and trustworthy.
We are living in world that does not understand trustworthiness. For us, phrases like “hidden-motives”, “double-talk” and “secret-agenda” are heard all the time. In politics, business circles, religious communities and even in family relationships, deception and betrayal are a given. The effects are quite devastating and we do not even realize it. We do not know how to trust. We are suspicious and skeptical all the time. We feel vulnerable, insecure and unsafe, even in matters concerning our faith and our relationship with God. The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is God’s powerful way of restoring the spirit of faith and trust in our hearts. When our lives are shaken and when we are overwhelmed, it is very difficult to turn to the trustworthiness of the Lord. When we are visited by sickness, when our financial resources are depleting, when our families go through periods of great shaking we cannot help but feel betrayed by life. But you see, this is the very message the Lord’s resurrection. The resurrection of the Lord confronts each of us with the credibility and the authenticity of Christ – – – the only One victorious over death — the only One whose every word is true and whose every action is pure- – the only One whom we can cling on to when everything else is falling apart.
After his death the corpse of Jesus was placed in a solid rock tomb owned by a rich man, Joseph of Arimathea. By means of levers, an extremely large stone weighing approximately two tons was rolled against the entrance of the tomb. Elite Roman guards were stationed to guard the tomb upon the strict instructions of Pilate. But you see, all these elaborate military precautions were not enough to hinder God from displaying the glory of his Son. God had set the stage for his victory to be displayed in Jesus Christ who is Lord over life and Lord over death. As Lord, we do not boss Christ around. We do not treat his commands as “options.” We do not ignore his glory. We give him our most heartfelt devotion and our deepest loyalty.
We often hear, “The resurrection account and everything about Christ is just too good to be true.” Christian author James W. Moore said, “Our society has become strangely suspicious of the ‘good.’ We are quick to say, “It’s too good to be true.” In his book, Somethings Are Too Good Not To Be True, JW Moore shares that most authentic qualities and realities of life are exemplified Christ – – – all that he had taught, preached and exemplified.
How can a lifeless corpse suddenly just come back to life after three days in a closed tomb? How can the tortured, mangled body of the Lord rise in great strength and healing? Friends, the resurrection of Jesus is simply too awesome NOT to be true. It is too good NOT to be real and genuine. The world will always trivialize Christ. The world will always underestimate the kingdom he has built and is building. But you see, the truth is already out. It is out for the whole world to see, and consequently make a serious decision about. Jesus is Lord. He is risen! He reigns forever! He’s the real deal! A blessed and glorious Resurrection Day to all!