Yesterday morning while I was reading through the end of the book of Mark I was really struck by 3 words. The three words I read were out of the final chapter in Mark’s gospel account and it is what the angel told Mary at the tomb when she came looking for Jesus’ dead body. He explained to her that Jesus was not there and told her these three profound words, “He is Risen.”
These three words really put people at a crossroads when they look at the Bible or the Christian faith. I mean did Jesus REALLY rise from the dead? A lot of people all over the world can acknowledge Jesus was probably a really good guy but don’t really believe that he rose from the dead. This morning as I read those words I really thought about the implications of those three words…
- One major thing that it means if Jesus is risen from the dead and is still alive then He must have been God. It must mean that all his claims and teachings were true and that He really is the only way to the Father and the only way for us to receive salvation. This is amazing news because we can now have a relationship with our creator, realize our purpose for existence and live a life full of hope, joy and free from all of our guilt and shame.
- Another thing that comes to mind is that if Jesus is risen then we can still have a relationship with him. Not only is he God and the one who made a way for our salvation but he is also living and we can intimately know him. If he is still alive then he is not someone that is inaccessible to us. We can actually commune with him through the Holy Spirit whom he sent after he returned to being with the Father. All of us have deep longings for intimacy and relationship and the good news is that we can find a greater fulfillment in knowing Christ than we ever could have imagined!
- Lastly, if he told his disciples over and over again that he would die and rise again and then it was fulfilled, then we can expect the other predictions he made will come true as well. Jesus told us that he would be coming again. If we believe that he really is risen then we can most definitely be expecting his return. This creates an urgency about all we do and changes the way that we live our lives. If we really believe that Jesus is coming back then we know that we play a major role in this end-time plan that God has. If Jesus really is coming back, then we want to be sure that we know him so we can fully invest ourselves to a life of prayer and intimacy. We can cry out with the Holy Spirit for Jesus to “COME!” We can take part in the great commission of preaching to ALL nations, tribes and tongues which must be completed before Jesus can return. With this paradigm of Christ’s return we see that we’re not just innocent bystanders but can rather play a major role in brining about His return by prayer, fasting and doing the greater works of discipling the nations.
When we believe that Jesus is risen, that he is God, that he longs to know us intimately and that he is coming back then it absolutely changes everything. By looking at what the Bible says about Jesus then we are all faced with a decision to either see Jesus as God or an outright liar and lunatic. There is no ability to sit on a “fence” and stand somewhere in between when we look at the cross of Jesus Christ because either we believe he rose again as God or stayed dead like all the other religious leaders throughout history. Jesus told us in Matthew 10:34, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” He said this because the “sword” represents his Word and when his Word comes it divides humanity into two separate camps. Jesus came to divide those on the earth who will believe and those who refuse to believe.
What do you believe? Did Jesus really rise from the dead?