To Ponder:

The resurrection of Christ is one of the great foundation-stones of the Christian religion. In practical importance, it is second only to the crucifixion. The chapter we have now begun, directs our mind to the evidence of the resurrection. It contains unanswerable proof that Jesus not only died, but rose again. We see, in the verses before us — the reality of Christ’s resurrection. We read, that upon “the first day of the week” certain women came to the tomb in which the body of Jesus had been laid, in order to anoint Him. But when they came to the place, “they found the stone rolled away. When they entered in, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.” This simple fact is the starting-point in the history of the resurrection of Christ. On Friday morning His body was safe in the tomb. On Sunday morning His body was gone. By whose hands had it been taken away? Who had removed it? Not surely the priests and scribes and other enemies of Christ! If they had had Christ’s body to show in disproof of His resurrection — then they would gladly have shown it. Not the apostles and other disciples of our Lord! They were far too much frightened and dispirited to attempt such an action, and the more so when they had nothing to gain by it. One explanation, and one only, can meet the circumstance of the case. That explanation is the one supplied by the angels in the verse before us. Christ “had risen” from the grave. To seek Him in the sepulcher was seeking “the living among the dead.” He had arisen, and was soon seen alive and conversing, by many credible witnesses. The fact of our Lord’s resurrection rests on evidence which no infidel can ever explain away. It is confirmed by testimony of every kind, sort, and description. The plain unvarnished story which the Gospel writers tell about it — is one which cannot be overthrown. The more the account they give is examined — the more inexplicable will the event appear, unless we accept it as true. If we choose to deny the truth of their account — then we may deny everything in the world. It is not as certain that Julius Caesar once lived — as it is that Christ rose again. Let us cling firmly to the resurrection of Christ, as one of the pillars of the Gospel. It ought to produce in our minds, a settled conviction of the truth of Christianity. Our faith does not depend merely on a set of texts and doctrines. It is founded on a mighty historical fact which the skeptic has never been able to overturn. It ought to assure us of the certainty of the resurrection of our own bodies after death. If our Master has risen from the grave — then we need not doubt that His disciples shall rise again at the last day. Above all, it ought to fill our hearts with a joyful sense of the fullness of Gospel salvation. Who can condemn us? Our Great Surety has not only died for us, but risen again. (Romans 8:34.) He has died as an atoning sacrifice for our sins — and then arose triumphantly. The payment He made for us, has been accepted. The work of satisfaction has been perfectly accomplished. No wonder that Peter exclaims, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy, has begotten us again to a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” (1 Peter 1:3.) (J. C. Ryle)

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