He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said.
If you go to Israel, you can see archeological evidence for many events recorded in the Bible. For example, you can see evidence for the existence of the Philistines and King David. Critics of the Bible used to scoff at the idea that the Old Testament was historically reliable until the evidence turned up. They are not scoffing any longer. The same is true with the New Testament. In Caesarea by the Sea, you can see a replica of the stone that records the existence of Pontius Pilate, the governor of Judea. Not only that, in 1990 the tomb of the high priest Caiaphas was discovered. There is much archeological evidence for many events in the Bible.
However, there is one event in the New Testament that archeology will never be able to prove. Archeology can help us understand the crucifixion and the tomb of Jesus Christ, but archeology can never prove the resurrection. Why not? Very simple: There is nothing to be discovered. The tomb is empty. And the empty tomb of Jesus Christ is the foundation of our faith.
In Matthew 28:1-6, we see what happened on the first Easter Sunday morning. Matthew recorded, “Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave. And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it. And his appearance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. The guards shook for fear of him and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said.’” Then, Matthew recorded, “They left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy and ran to report it to His disciples” (28:8).
For three years, Jesus’ disciples had given up everything to follow Him, believing He was the Messiah. But on that Friday afternoon when Jesus died, their hopes dissipated. All was lost. On Easter Sunday morning, two women went back to the tomb of Jesus to prepare His body for burial. But when they arrived at the tomb, they were shocked to see that massive stone rolled away, and an angel saying, “He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said” (28:6). When the women heard that, they remembered what He had prophesied: He would rise again. I think they remembered all the other things Jesus had said as well. And it was very clear to them that if what Jesus said about His resurrection was true, then every other thing Jesus said was true as well.
You see, the resurrection was not some isolated event, disconnected to anything else in Jesus’ life. The resurrection was the culminating proof that Jesus was who He said He was. And if He was who He said He was, then it has tremendous ramifications for you and for me.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Three Reasons the Resurrection Matters” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2014.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.