- A Day of Verification
- the day that verifies the realities of Good Friday;
- because Jesus is alive he IS the Son of God;
- because he is the Son of God, he alone is worthy of carrying our punishment;
- because he has carried our sins and our punishment, the door is now open for us to receive all the love and goodness that God has for us, that we call ‘salvation’.
- A Day of Confirmation
- a day when Jesus words are confirmed and fulfilled
- “From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.” (Mt 16:21. See also Mt 17:22,23, Mt 20:17-19)
- See as well Mt 17:9, Mt 12:34,35, Mt 26:31,32, Mt 27:62-64)
- a day when the words of the prophets were confirmed and fulfilled
- “Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will live in hope, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay.” (Acts 2:26,27 citing Psa 16:9,10. Also read on Acts 2:29-32, Acts 13:35-37, Isa 53:10
- A Day establishing our Salvation
- Paul wrote, “us, to whom God will credit righteousness–for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.” (Rom 4:24) Then v.25 “He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” It is the grounds for our belief leading to our justification.
- Also, “just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” (Rom 6:4) it reveals the power available for us to live by today. “if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.” (Rom 8:11) Christ being raised is paralleled with us being given a new life and that life is enabled by this same power.
- “By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also.” (1 Cor 6:14) But this is not just for now, it is also about our eternal future: “we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence.” (2 Cor 4:14) The power of this day is also the power that will carry us into eternity, having now inherited eternal life.
- “For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.” (Acts 17:21) In the Final Judgment, the means of assessing our destiny is whether we believed in the risen Lord Christ.
- A Day established in the record of history
Note the appearances as they appear in the records:
- To Mary Magdalene: Mk 16:9-11; Jn 20:10-18
- The other women at the tomb: Mt 28:8-10
- Peter in Jerusalem: Lk 24:34 (1 Cor 15:5)
- The two travellers on the road to Emmaus: Mk 16:12-13; Lk 24:13-35
- Ten disciples behind closed doors: Mk 16:14; Lk 24:36-43; Jn 20:19-25
- All eleven disciples (including Thomas): Jn 20:26-31 (1 Cor 15:5)
- Seven disciples (at least) while fishing on the Sea of Galilee: Jn 21:1-14
- Eleven disciples (at least) on a mountain in Galilee: Mt 28:16-20; Mk 16:15-18
- A crowd of 500: 1 Cor 15:6
- Jesus’ brother James: 1 Cor 15:7
- Those who watched Jesus ascend into heaven: Mk 16:19-20; Lk 24:44-49; Acts 1:3-8
- To Stephen: Acts 7:55,56
- To Saul (later Paul) on the road to Damascus: Acts 9:3-6, 22:1-11
- To John in a vision: Revelation, numerous times.
The reality is that those above who were involved and saw Jesus, did not keep quiet about it and so when we read through Acts, because there are so many references in the earlier chapters at least, we almost take them for granted, but the following are the times reference was made to Jesus rising from the dead in Acts alone: 2:24, 2:32, 3:15, 4:10, 5:30, 10:40, 13:30, 13:34. In the epistles, again we probably take them for granted but to make the point even more clearly, verses referring to Jesus being ‘raised’ are Rom 4: 24, 25, 6:4,9, 7:4, 8: 11,34, 10:9, 1Cor 6:14, 15:4, 12,15, 2Cor 4:14, 5:15, Gal 1:1, Eph 1:20, Col 2:12, 1Thess 1:10, 2Tim 2:8, 1Pet 1:21.
Unless we purposefully reject this phenomenal pile of evidence, there is only one thing left to us: to worship him as the risen Son of God who came to die for our sins and was raised to provide justification for us. May that be our response this day. Amen.
Postscript: this day, justifying, verifying, validating, authenticating Good Friday, is the day for glorifying the Son of God, and the plan and purpose of God, and realising that without these two days, the Church could not exist. As various people have said or sung, “We are an Easter people”. Hallelujah!