“[Jesus] was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead.
In Peter’s very first sermon, he reminded the audience about Jesus’s miraculous life and His atoning death. Finally, he said, do not forget His supernatural resurrection. He said in Acts 2:24, “But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.”
A few years ago, I was in Israel with a church group, and we went to the Garden Tomb. It is very small, and you can only go in two or three people at a time. When one man in our group came out, he grinned and said, “He is still not there.” That is the gospel message: He is still not there. He is risen from the dead.
How do you explain that empty tomb? Some people say the disciples stole the body. You mean those sniveling, spineless cowards who had abandoned Jesus like rats off a sinking ship? I don’t think so. What about the Romans or the Jews? That is an even more preposterous idea. The Romans and the Jews did not want that body gone. In fact, their greatest fear, Matthew 27:62-66 tells us, was that the disciples would come and steal the body and say, “He has risen from the dead just as He said.” That is why Pilate ordered for the grave to be made secure.
If nobody stole the body, and if nobody in two thousand years has been able to produce it, there is only one explanation: God took that body out of the grave. And that was the signal proof that Jesus truly is the Messiah. Romans 1:4 says, “[He] was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead.” The resurrection of Jesus proves that He is God’s son.
His resurrection also proves that He is the sufficient sacrifice for our sins. Had Jesus remained in that grave, like every one of us remains in the grave until we are resurrected, it would have meant that when He died, He died for His owns sins, not for our sins. But the fact that God raised Him up was God’s way of saying, “The sacrifice that Jesus made for the sins of those who believe, that sacrifice is sufficient; it is accepted by Me.” Romans 4:25 says about Jesus, “He . . . was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.” The fact that Jesus has been raised up from the dead is God’s way of saying that payment has truly been made in full. And that means we no longer have to be held down by the fear of death. We know that we have life eternal because of what Christ has done for us.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “This Man Jesus” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2012.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org