Matthew 28:1-10

There are three great witnesses to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The first witness is the Christian Church itself. The resurrection was what founded the Church. If Jesus Christ had not been raised from the grave, there would never have been a Church. The Church came into existence because of the disciples’ belief in the risen Lord. Two women, Mary Magdalene and the “other” Mary, were the first to witness the resurrection of Jesus, and they told the other disciples. The New Testament is the second greatest witness. The New Testament did not create the Church. Disciples in the early church wrote the Gospels, Acts, and the rest of the New Testament to tell others about Jesus Christ, the risen Lord. The third notable witness to the reality of the resurrection is that the Jewish disciples of Christ changed their day of worship from Saturday — the Sabbath — to Sunday. As sacred a day as the Sabbath was to the Jews, only a miracle could make them change their day of worship from Saturday to Sunday. This miracle they declared was the resurrection of Jesus. If the crucifixion and death of Jesus were the end of his career and life, then neither the Church nor the New Testament would have come into existence. The resurrection made the difference!

Following the Nuremburg War Crime Trials, a witness testified that he avoided the gas chambers and survived by living for a time in a graveyard in Wilna, Poland. While he was in the graveyard, a young woman gave birth to a boy. When the child uttered its first cry, the old man prayed: “Great God, hast thou finally sent the Messiah to us? For who else than the Messiah Himself can be born in a grave?” But a few days later, when he saw the baby sucking only the tears of his mother who could give him no milk, he knew that this hope would not be realized.

But…the Christian message is that the Messiah did come from a graveyard. Death could not contain him. The power of God raised Christ from the grave. As Paul said, “Our faith is based on the resurrection. If Christ was not raised, then everything else we believe tumbles. But thanks be to God he is risen.” Let trumpets sound! Let our voices shout: “He is risen indeed!”

Prayer: 0 God, we thank you for the joy of this day, for the reality of a living Lord. Enable our hearts, minds, and spirits to rejoice in the glory of the resurrection. May the joy of the resurrection permeate our hearts and our daily living. In the strong name of the living Christ, we pray. Amen.

Bill Tuck