Clarence L. Haynes Jr.
He is not here, for he has risen, as he said... – Matthew 28:6 (ESV)
Every year in the spring we get together on Easter Sunday (or Resurrection Sunday) to celebrate and remember the resurrection of our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ. This wondrous miracle, however, needn’t be only recognized on one day or even for just one season...it can be celebrated every day of your life if you choose, because it’s that important and truly that wonderful.
On the morning of Jesus’ resurrection, the angel uttered these words to Mary Magdalene and the “other” Mary who was with her: He is not here, for he has risen.
Let’s look deeper at the meaning of this verse and four beautiful truths revealed in the angel’s message.
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1. The Truth and Meaning of Confirmation
Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” – John 2:19
One of the most beautiful truths in the angel’s declaration that he is not here for he has risen is the truth of confirmation. I believe this is the most important truth. Without the reality of the resurrection, Jesus was just an ordinary man. In fact, he would be worse than an ordinary man because he would have been a liar, deceiver, and a false prophet.
However, the gold standard—and the thing that separates Christianity from every other religion on the face of this earth—is the fact of the resurrection. The resurrection confirms that Jesus Christ is everything he said he would be.
Many people like to debate the truths of Scripture and will spend hours deliberating over the true meaning of a text or whether Jesus is who he said he is. What it all boils down to is simply this, he is not here for he has risen.
This one truth and the reality of it makes all the difference in the world.
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2. The Truth and Meaning of Culmination
And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. – 1 Corinthians 15:17
One of the things we often forget about the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is that if there was no resurrection, your salvation is meaningless. This means you and I are still lost in our sins. The penalty for our sin was paid for on the cross, however, the culmination of our salvation happened at the resurrection.
That’s what makes what was said at the tomb such a beautiful truth. The angel’s message was not just words of comfort, even though I know the two Marys found comfort in them. His message was words of culmination. I like the way this verse reads in the Message Bible:
The angel spoke to the women: “There is nothing to fear here. I know you’re looking for Jesus, the One they nailed to the cross. He is not here. He was raised, just as he said. Come and look at the place where he was placed. – Matthew 28:6
I don’t think we often put ourselves in the emotions and thoughts of the followers of Christ during that period of time. They saw Jesus perform many miracles, even raising people from the dead. Then in one day the one who they left everything to follow...the one who they believed to be their true Messiah...ends up dead and in a tomb.
For many of them, their hopes and dreams died with him that day. I don’t know how many remembered or even believed that he said he would rise again in three days. So when those ladies came to the tomb that morning and heard the angel’s message it was a culmination of everything Jesus had said before.
For us, the crucifixion and the resurrection was the culmination that won our salvation forever.
You can celebrate his resurrection because that is really good news both now and for all eternity.
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3. The Truth and Meaning of Affirmation
Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. – John 14:19
The resurrection has another wonderful reality that comes as a result. Here is that beautiful truth. The angel’s message “he is not here, for he has risen” referring to Jesus means that one day those same words will be said of you and me. Because Jesus has risen and lives, you and I will one day be resurrected and live as well. Christ’s resurrection affirms, or guarantees, your resurrection.
So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. – 1 Corinthians 15:42-44
And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man. – 1 Corinthians 15:49
I don’t know exactly what our heavenly bodies will look like. However, for us to experience eternal life and God’s glory in its fullness it will require a resurrected body. I don’t think you will complain about it; because most of us are struggling to try to get this earthly body to look the way we want, anyway. I can say pretty confidently, you won’t have that problem with your resurrected body.
Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. – 1 John 3:2
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4. The Truth and Meaning of Transformation
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born. – 1 Corinthians 15:3-8
The reality of the resurrection powered them to preach the gospel of Jesus with boldness and courage. It was the catalyst that they lived and died for. This simple and beautiful truth in the angel’s message led to the transformation of the early disciples and the transformation of many lives.
They watched him live. They watched him die. They watched him live again. The reality of his resurrection changed lives then...and it is still changing lives now.
What Do You Do with These Truths?
Hopefully, these four truths are encouraging to you...I know they are to me. When that day comes, I am looking forward to my new resurrected body. I’m sure you are, too.
However, until that day comes we are pressed with a responsibility. It’s the same responsibility the early church had: to be Christ’s witnesses everywhere you go. It has been 2,000+ years since the resurrection and the mission is still the same.
We are to preach the gospel and make disciples.
We have the good news, so let’s make sure we’re sharing it. The gospel had the power to transform lives then, and it has the same power now. It’s up to you and me to let everyone know about this wonderful, resurrected Jesus.
He came, he died, he resurrected, and he’s coming again. This is the message the world needs to know now more than ever before.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. – Romans 1:16
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Clarence L. Haynes Jr. is a speaker, Bible teacher, author and co-founder of The Bible Study Club. He has spent more than 30 years serving the body of Christ in various capacities and has just released his first book, The Pursuit of Purpose. If you have ever struggled trying to find God’s will, this book will help you discover the different ways God leads you into his perfect will. To learn more about his ministry please visit clarencehaynes.com.