As Christians gather to study this passage, they do so on a day preceding Memorial Day, a national holiday. Memorial Day is a time of remembrance of those who died fighting for our freedoms. Christ Jesus died to set us free; however, He lives! The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead after His substitutionary death is the center of our Christian faith. During His appearances to His disciples after His resurrection, Jesus commissioned all His followers to carry on His ministry.
How can Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus every day?
First, Christians can celebrate the resurrection through remembrance of Christ’s mighty deeds on our behalf (Lk. 24:1-8). Twice in this passage a focus upon the act of remembrance occurs. The angels commanded the women to remember (v. 6), then after the women do remember (v. 8). Specifically, the women remembered the prophecies of Jesus about the events of His death and resurrection. The words of prophecy from Jesus and the Old Testament remind believers that the events of that particular weekend were God’s redemptive plan.
Remembering can be and should be emotional. The women experienced a variety of emotions “the first day of the week.” The women grieved from Friday to Sunday morning. Christians should grieve about the fact that our sins nailed Jesus to the cross. At the tomb the women experienced both perplexity (v. 4) and fear (v. 5). The women were perplexed about what was out of place – the huge stone that locked the tomb. The women experienced fear in the presence of the angels. The message of the angels, however, provides the remedy for human perplexity and fear. Because He is risen, Christians know our future is secure in Christ and we have no reason to fear even the great enemy death.
Second, Christians can celebrate the resurrection of Jesus through trust (Lk. 24:36-40). In Luke the first words Jesus spoke to the gathered disciples were words of encouragement. Peace! In the Bible the term “peace” described a state of concord or harmony, a state of well-being, and messianic salvation. Likely, Jesus expressed all three ideas. Because of His death and resurrection, the Holy God and sinful humans are at peace. The risen Jesus brings believers into a condition of well-being through the riches of the gospel. As the Messiah, He offers the blessings of messianic salvation
The disciples expressed doubts about the message they heard from others about the risen Jesus. In the third gospel, we observe four kinds of proofs providing evidence for doubters. First, the tomb was empty. Even the enemies of Jesus agreed on this fact! Second, Jesus personally appeared to the disciples. Third, He showed the disciples the evidence of the scars of His body. Fourth, He ate thereby proving the physical nature of His resurrected body. I have studied in detail both the critics of the resurrection and the defenders of the resurrection. My studies have led me to the conclusion that the resurrection of Jesus meets all the criteria of established historical fact! Christians, the resurrection of Jesus is a truth upon which we can build our lives.
Third, Christians can celebrate the resurrection of Jesus as we proclaim His message to the nations (Lk. 24:47-53). The risen Jesus highlighted three aspects of the message His followers needed to share. First, His ministry fulfilled the Old Testament Scriptures. The death and resurrection are the center of God’s grand narrative story of creation, the fall into sin, redemption, the church, and the end-times actions of God. Second, Jesus challenged His followers to proclaim a message of repentance and forgiveness. Third, Jesus established the duty of His followers to carry the message to all nations. Fourth, Jesus promised Spirit empowerment for the task. Celebrate Christ’s resurrection today—proclaim the message of forgiveness.
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