Ironically enough, my quiet time this morning found me in Matthew 28. I try to read straight through scripture book by book as I study it, instead of taking little sections from here and there and piecing them together. I find it easier to hear what God is saying when I read it the way He wrote it. So this particular morning, I finished Matthew. Of course, Matthew 28 is one of the locations where the Great Commission is recorded in scripture (a particularly significant passage at this point in my life) but that is not where God really called my attention this morning. Instead, it was the beginning of the chapter, where Matthew discusses the resurrection of Christ. God’s words were too good, so I had to write this down!
Christ’s work in securing our salvation, and His kingdom, was not simply accomplished in His death. Truly, every human that has ever lived pulls off the dying part, usually without even trying. (Save a select few such as Enoch and Elijah.) It was Christ’s power over death and hell that allowed Him to walk out of that grave three days later. The resurrection is crucial to our message. Certainly, we must teach Christ crucified, as it was on the cross that He bore our sin, a lamb sacrificed on that wooden altar for our atonement. But our message must not stop there. Christ is the victor, and in such defeated death so that we may follow Him in the resurrection.
One day, we too will receive a resurrection body. First though, we must follow Him in His death. Christ lived and died on this earth, and we must follow Him in that death if we are ever to follow Him in eternal life. “Take up your cross and follow me,” Christ calls to us. And Paul’s words in Galatians ring true that, “I have been crucified with Christ.” The call of the disciple is to follow in the footsteps of his master. If we are to claim Christ as our master, we must consider where Christ’s steps took Him. Christ gave His life, and so must we. Oh the glory that is in store for those who do! Christ has conquered and those who were buried with Him will one day be raised to a new life and reign with Him on high. Praise God for the resurrection!
We must never let go of this key piece of the gospel message. Even in Matthew 28, we see the Jews seek to hide the truth of the resurrection.
While they were going, behold, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had taken place. And when they had assembled with the elders and taken counsel, they gave a sufficient sum of money to the soldiers and said, “Tell people, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” So they took the money and did as they were directed. And this story has been spread among the Jews to this day. (Matthew 28:11-15)
They were okay with His death, but they sought to hide his resurrection. From the very beginning, the world has sought to hide the truth of the resurrection.
It is no different today. Here, in the middle of Islam, the truth of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection is denied. The Muslim world view, at least here, would say that the crucifixion was an elaborate hoax orchestrated by God. “They did not kill him, nor did they crucify him, but they thought they did.” (Quran 4:156) Critically, I cannot understand why God would do that, but in order for Islam to make its claims against Christ’s deity, they must destroy the work of Christ and the gospel message. Truly, all world views that oppose the truth of God’s word will seek to disprove the core truth of the gospel, namely the crucifixion and resurrection.
We must proclaim that Christ is alive and well in the world today! “I serve a risen savior, He’s in the world today! I know that He is with me, whatever men may say.”