Jesus is alive, He is risen!
The resurrection of the Lord Jesus was not an accidental occurrence. It was planned by God. It was predicted in many places in the Old and New Testaments. Jesus himself predicted it and the angel reminded those who came looking for him in the grave of it. Matthew 28:6 “6He is not here: for he is risen, as he said.”
The bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the crowning proof of Christianity. Everything else that was said or done by Christ and the Apostles is secondary in importance to the resurrection. If the resurrection did not take place then Christianity is a false religion. He died and rose again that you and I may not rot in hell.
Matthew 28:6 “6He is not here: for he is risen, as he said.” (Read Matthew 28:1-10, Matthew 12:38-40, Luke 9:22, John 2:18-22)
The High priest and all those who conspired to kill Jesus thought they had succeeded in getting rid of Him. They thought it was over. They did not know they were fulfilling the plan of God. They did not know He was coming back in a big way. They did not know He was coming back better.
But the shocking thing is that the disciples forgot (or they did not believe) he said he would rise the third day.
Luke 24:1 tells us how the women brought spices to try and preserve him in the tomb. Well, they found it empty! People always try to preserve you where they left you.
The angel asked them why they were looking for the living among the dead. Anyone looking for you among the poor is making a mistake. Your predicament is about to be history!
When you are not where they expect you to be, you are where you ought to be. • They expect you to be dead but you are alive. They expect you to remain small but you are growing bigger. They expect you to remain sick but you are healed. They expect you to beg but you are giving out stuff. They expect you to remain barren but you are giving birth to twins. They expect you to remain jobless but you are choosing between five jobs. They expect you to remain single but you are getting married next month. They expect you to remain poor but you are growing richer. 5 Important lessons remember
1. There is nothing in man’s plan that can stop or change God’s plan for your life. The jealousy and envy of the religious leaders could not stop Him from fulfilling His mission on earth. The stone could not prevent the Rock of Ages from rising. No witch or wizard can stop you. No wicked person can stop your promotion. No household conspiracy is strong enough to turn back the hand of God from lifting and blessing you. God will disappoint your enemies. He will bless you right before their eyes.
2. If you don’t believe in yourself you will remain where you are. Jesus believed He would rise again. He was so conscious of the temporariness of • • • • • • • to His stay in the grave, He only borrowed one to use. They were shouting come down and we’ll believe you. It does not matter what people think about you, it is what you think about yourself that counts. World heavyweight champion George Foreman said the first trainer he contacted refused to accept him because he thought he George was not good enough and that he could never make it in boxing. He left him and looked for another coach. Not long after that, he won the Olympic gold medal. He defeated many legendary heavyweight boxers including Mohammed Ali to win the heavyweight title. “There is a champion in you.” You may not look like it, you may not smell like it, but you are a champion.
3. God is a covenant-keeping God. He promised to raise the Son, He did!! All other promises will be fulfilled. He will come again. Expect the promises of God in your life to be fulfilled in Jesus name. Your neighbour’s testimony is a sign to you that your miracle is on the way. It is safe to surrender your destiny to God. He surrendered His destiny to God and He was not disappointed. Don’t be afraid to surrender your life, your destiny to Him. He will not disappoint you. Trust Him and He will lift you.
4. With God you can survive anything. In the hands of God even the worst trouble leads to your improvement. It may be too far for you, too deep for you but not for Him. Too late for you but not for Him. Too much for you but not for Him. Too costly for you but not for Him. Too hopeless for you but not for Him. Daniel survived the lion’s den; Shadrach, Meshack and Abednego survived the fiery furnace; Joseph survived the cruel treatment of his brother, he survived slavery and prison to become the Prime Minister of Egypt. Your present problem is nothing. Tell your neighbour “I’m coming out of lack, I’m coming out of this!!!” God loves to turn crucifixions into resurrections so you can see his greatness. God will turn your crucifixions into resurrections. He died limited, He rose unlimited. He died a bleeding lamb, He arose a reigning King. When He arose, hell’s hope was dashed, terminated. I see you coming out of that trouble, grave, valley. I see you coming out of bondage, poverty, etc. God will dash the hopes of your enemies! The tomb became a witness. The cross became an instrument of glory. God will take what was intended to embarrass you and use it to elevate you!
5. He rose to prove that Christ is the only One that can save mankind. He alone had defeated death and has the answer to the sin question. Salvation is now freely available to all those who believe. He was scarred that you might become a star. Isaiah 53:4-5 “4Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” Acts 4:12 “12Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Nothing else matters if you are not saved.
At the fullness of time, He came out.
He resurrected with a body that is totally mysterious. He disappears and reappears. He moves through physical obstacles as though they did not exist. He ate human or physical food and yet simply disappears with them. What kind of body was this! The Bible says that we shall have this kind of body one day!
I see you coming back! I see you coming out of that problem! I see you coming out of poverty, out of death, out of that sickness, out of debt, out of failure, out of loneliness, out of depression, out of confusion and out of shame!
He was not only raised but healed. He came out with scars only on His hands, feet and sides because someone demanded to see them as evidence that it was really the Lord. But you will notice that the scares on the face were not there. I believe also the scars on His back. He will show you aspects of His life that matter to you or that you seek to know. But I believe the greater lesson is that you can retain only those scars of your past that you choose to.
Have you given your life to Christ? If you haven’t, there is no better time to do so than right now. Accept him into your heart as your Lord and Saviour confessing that God raised him from the dead for your justification. HAPPY EASTER!! 10:28; 13:42,50; Mk. 9:43-48). Jesus proclaims solemnly that “The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom all that is scandalous and all who do evil. And these will be thrown in the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the just will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father” (Mt 13:41-43).
The universal or final judgment will take place at the end of time. In John 5:28-29 Jesus says: “Do not be surprised at this: the hour is coming when all those lying in tombs will hear my voice and come out; those who have done good shall rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.” In the Parable of the Last Judgment (Mt 25:31-46), Jesus vividly captures this reality of universal judgment. That text of Scripture is very instructive. “The Last Judgment will come when Christ returns in glory. Only the Father knows the day and the hour; only he determines the moment of its coming. Then through his Son Jesus Christ he will pronounce the final word on all history. We shall know the ultimate meaning of the whole work of creation and of the entire economy of salvation, and understand the marvellous ways by which his Providence led everything towards its final end. The Last Judgment will reveal that God’s justice triumphs over all the injustices committed by his creatures and that God’s love is stronger than death” (CCC 1040).
The reality of the four last things calls us to conversion while God is still giving us time. It should inspire holy fear in each one of us, and help us to live our lives well.
Ojeifo is a Catholic priest of the Archdiocese of Abuja.