Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’” (Luke 24: 5-7)
The two angels (appearing as “men in clothes that gleamed like lightning”) asked the women why they were looking in a tomb for someone who was alive. Often we run into people who are looking for God among the dead. They study the Bible as a mere historical document and go to church as if going to a memorial service. But Jesus is not among the dead – He lives! He reigns in the hearts of Christians, and He is the head of His church. Do you look for Jesus among the living? Do you expect Him to be active in the world and in the church? Look for signs of His power – they are all around you.
We learn from Matthew and John that these two men in gleaming clothes were angels. When angels appeared to people, they looked like humans (Luke 24:23). The angels asked the women, "Why do you seek the living among the dead?" The angels announced that Jesus was alive! Anointing Him would not be necessary. The angels reminded the women that Jesus had accurately predicted all that had happened to Him (Luke 9:22, 44; 18: 31-33).
The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the central fact of Christian history. On it, the church is built; without it, there would be no Christian church today. Jesus’ resurrection is unique. Other religions have strong ethical systems, concepts about paradise and afterlife, and various holy scriptures. Only Christianity has a God who became human, literally died for His people and was raised again in power and glory to rule His church forever.
Why is the resurrection so important?
1) Because Christ was raised from the dead, we know that the kingdom of heaven has broken into earth’s history. Our world is now headed for redemption, not disaster. God’s mighty power is at work destroying sin, creating new lives, and preparing us for Jesus’ second coming.
2) Because of the resurrection, we know that death has been conquered, and we too will be raised from the dead to live forever with Christ.
3) The resurrection gives authority to the church’s witness in the world. Look at the early evangelistic sermons in the book of Acts: the apostles’ most important message was the proclamation that Jesus Christ had been raised from the dead!
4) The resurrection gives meaning to the church’s regular feast, the Lord’s Supper. Like the disciples on the Emmaus Road, we break bread with our risen Lord, who comes in power to save us.
5) The resurrection helps us find meaning even in great tragedy. No matter what happens to us as we walk with the Lord, the resurrection gives us hope for the future.
6) The resurrection assures us that Christ is alive and ruling His kingdom. He is not a legend; He is alive and real.
7) God’s power that brought Jesus back from the dead is available to us so that we can live for Him in an evil world.
Christians can look very different from one another, and they can hold widely varying beliefs about politics, life-style, and even theology. But one central belief unites and inspires all true Christians – Jesus Christ rose from the dead and He is Alive today! Amen.
References: NKJV Holy Bible, Life Application Bible (NIV), the Nelson Study Bible.