And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. Matthew 28:4 KJV
The guards shook for fear of him and became like dead men. Matthew 28:4 NASB
The resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ stands as the final and ultimate apologetic. His resurrection appearings, verified by “many infallible proofs,” stands as eloquent testimony to His resurrection. His resurrection, in turn, establishes all that He ever said or claimed. He is God overall, blessed forever!
Each of the Gospel accounts adds a personal and practical aspect to His rising from the dead. Each shows the folly and futility of a different action. For Matthew, it is the —
At the request of the leaders of the nation, a watch of soldiers is established outside the tomb, ostensibly to prevent His disciples from coming and stealing the body and claiming it as proof for the resurrection. But how futile their efforts were! The One Who was dead came to life; those who were living became as dead men. “Vainly they watched His grave.” All the efforts of men are futile when confronted by the power of God.
Mark alone tells us of the concern of the women as they made their way to the tomb that Easter morning. “And they said among themselves, who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulcher?” They were concerned about the stone; but how needless. When they arrived at the tomb, the stone which was their concern had been rolled away. But what they had not even known about was the guard of soldiers who would not have allowed the stone to be touched. There were concerns and needs of which they were unaware but, which an angel dispatched from heaven, had taken care of with minimal effort.
How often we have needless worries, things which, when we arrive, have already been handled by the Lord in His unique manner. And in addition, there are issues of which we are unaware, that He resolves, as well.
The well-known story of the Emmaus road journey in Luke depicts two wavering disciples, dejected and despondent, moving along the road away from Jerusalem. Their one-sided theology, expecting a reigning Messiah and not a suffering One, had led to dashed hopes and crushed spirits. Had everything they believed been proven false? Could they possibly have been wrong about the glories of a Kingdom age?
Their wavering was so unnecessary. His unfolding of “all” the Scriptures balanced their wrong thinking and established their faith. How wise and skillful the Savior in His dealings with them! His resurrection, in turn, should banish all our doubts and uncertainties. His resurrection assures us that we have not “believed in vain” and that we are not of “all men most miserable.” We have a living Savior and a living hope.
John 20 brings us to Mary Magdalene at the garden tomb. Her love was genuine and her tears sincere and heart-felt. She owns Him as “My Lord” even though she presumes Him dead. His simple word “Mary” banished all her tears of sorrow and released the flood gates of joy and appreciation. Her Lord was alive! Tears could have no place in the presence of her living Lord.
His resurrection still changes our sorrows and griefs. We may sorrow at the home-call of loved ones, but we sorrow not as the world. His resurrection has changed all that. “We believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, them also which sleep … “(1 Thess 4:14).
1 Corinthians 15 is the chapter which shows the doctrinal implications of His resurrection; we have looked at the practical implications. But are they really separate or are they related in many ways?
As you trace His appearances in the four Gospel accounts, what other practical results on His disciples and followers can you find?