(The following is the February 7 devotional from my Next Step Devotions book. Before reading it, I suggest you read Matthew 28 and pay close attention to verses 1-6.)
A few women went to Jesus’ tomb to anoint his body with spices the Sunday after his crucifixion. They were stunned at what they saw and what they didn't see. What they saw was an angel who said, “Don’t be afraid, because I know you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here. For he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay” (vv. 5-6). What they didn’t see was Jesus’ body. The angel affirmed Jesus’ promised resurrection.
There is no Christianity worth believing in without the resurrection. If Jesus didn’t walk out of that tomb, he is not on the throne as the mediator between God and humankind. Unless Christ conquered death, Christians have a vain hope for eternal life, and the Bible we proclaim to be trustworthy is nothing but the writers’ wishful thinking. Everything hinges on the reality of the resurrection.
Several have suggested that if Jesus foretold his death and resurrection but failed to deliver on it, he was a liar or a lunatic. You can’t be a good teacher and lie about who you are; one can’t be a lying Lord. If the resurrection stories are mere legends from followers wanting people to believe claims the writers themselves didn’t know with certainty, what else in the Bible is untrustworthy? Would the apostles and other first-century believers face persecution and death for something they were unsure of themselves? Would you?
Scripture only makes sense from beginning to end if the resurrection happened. The gospel only matters if Christ rose from the dead. Paul told the Corinthians, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins” (1 Cor. 15:17). “If we have put our hope in Christ for this life only, we should be pitied more than anyone. But as it is, Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Cor. 15:19-20).
Read the following accounts of Jesus’ resurrection: Matthew 28:1-10; Mark 16; Luke 24; John 20-21; Acts 1:1-11. Praise God that Jesus conquered death and that all who belong to him will do the same.