There is only one religion in the world that claims to have a resurrected Savior. A careful search will show that all religious leaders that have ever entered the scene of human history died, and were buried, and their bones (or what’s left of them) are in the ground. But Jesus proved His Lordship over all by being resurrected on the 3rd day following His crucifixion. The “good news” gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
As I was rereading the passages of scripture in Mark, I became aware of how our flesh has such a hard time believing. It was the women (Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome) who went early in the morning after the Sabbath had ended to take spices and ointments to anoint his dead body. His own mother Mary (the 3rd Mary) had been given into John’s care, so in this instance it was the will of God that the other 2 Mary’s would be at the tomb. As they approached the tomb they were discussing among themselves how they, as frail women, could possibly move the stone from the door of the sepulcher. Even though Jesus had told His disciples that if his body would be destroyed He would raise it up in 3 days, apparently those words had not sunk into anyone’s thinking (unbelief). Now, interestingly enough, the Pharisees and religious leaders were very concerned because they believed in the resurrection of the body. They went to Pilate and said, “We remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, after three days I will rise again.” So the religious folk and Pilate believed more than the two Mary’s or they wouldn’t have been discussing this.
The religious leaders asked Pilate to give them permission to secure the door with a large stone and even assigned guards to watch the tomb so his body would not be stolen and the prophecy fulfilled. What they didn’t know is that by doing this they actually played right into the hands of God, because the stone and the guards made the story far more believable in the end.
In Matthew 28 we learn that the stone was rolled away by a mighty angel who had descended from heaven. Matthew tells us that this angel’s face was like lightning and his clothes were white as snow. Can you imagine the glory of God that the two Mary’s must have felt as they approached the sepulcher? The angel told the women that “He is not here for He has risen. Come and see the place where the Lord lay.” See how gracious our Lord is. He knew that the women would not believe until they saw the empty tomb. So they both went in and the Lord was not there. I remember going inside the sepulcher when I visited Israel years ago. There are no words to describe the feeling that still exists there. How does one describe an empty tomb?
This story never gets old. It is as fresh reading the scriptures concerning this event as it must have been as it happened 2,000 years ago. Upon realizing the body was no longer in the sepulcher, the women feared and ran joyfully to tell the others. All the while the chief priests were plotting. They even gave huge sums of money to the soldiers who had been watching the door of the sepulcher to tell a fabricated story that the disciples had stolen his body. The devil will go to any extreme to conceal the truth and lie. The reason is simple. The Truth can make one free from Satan’s grip.
Now even though the religious leaders believed that Jesus had risen from the grave, the disciples did not believe. “And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her (Mary Magdalene) believed not.” (Mark 16:11) Amazing isn’t it?
Then we read in the next verse that Jesus appeared in another form to two men and they went and told the others and they didn’t believe. Now Jesus appears to His 11 disciples and really got upset with their unbelief. “Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.” (Mark 16:14)
Few people realize that there are verses of scripture that were removed from many translations, but were retained in the King James Version. As you read them I believe the Lord will reveal to you why the enemy didn’t want these scriptures to be included. Jesus made it very clear the consequences of unbelief in these scriptures. It isn’t the Lord Jesus who condemns the world – He came to save the world. However, refusal to accept His mercy brings self-condemnation.
“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name (Jesus) shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover.” (Mark 16:15-18)
Our Lord has risen. Believing is the key – unbelief will keep the door locked to eternal life with King Jesus. The door of grace is still open.