Why Do You Seek the Living among the Dead?

Luke 245–6 [widescreen]

He is risen! He is risen, indeed! Today is the center of the Christian faith. Jesus Christ was crucified and buried, but rose again from the dead. It is the Resurrection that validates all that Jesus said and did. It is the Resurrection that assures us of who the one true God is. It is the Resurrection that gives us hope of eternal life in a new world without sin and all of its consequences. Read the words of Luke 24:1-12 and praise our great God for all he has done!

Reading the Word

Luke 24:1–12 (ESV)

1 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. 2 And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. 5 And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, 7 that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” 8 And they remembered his words, 9 and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. 10 Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, 11 but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. 12 But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened.

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Jesus Buried

empty-tomb-jesus

Reading the Word

John 19:38–42 (ESV)

38 After these things Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took away his body. 39 Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight. 40 So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. 41 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. 42 So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.

Understanding and Applying the Word

After Jesus had died, Joseph of Arimathea, a wealthy member of the Jewish council, went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. Joseph took the body and laid it in a new tomb that was located in the garden. Nicodemus, who had approached Jesus earlier in John 3:1-2, also came with spices to prepare Jesus’ body. All of this fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah 53:9, which states, “And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.”

Saturday marked a day of silence. Jesus was crucified and buried on Friday and his body rested in the tomb on Saturday. His disciples were unaware of what would happen on Sunday and were discouraged and fearful. But God’s plans and purposes were still being fulfilled. We may not always have an understanding of what the future holds, but we can be confident in the one who is always working all things for his glory and for the good of those who love him. Our God is faithful and he is trustworthy.

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The Crucifixion

Wondrous Cross Quote

Reading the Word

John 19:16–30 (ESV)

16 …So they took Jesus, 17 and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. 18 There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them. 19 Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” 20 Many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek. 21 So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but rather, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.’ ” 22 Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”

23 When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom, 24 so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfill the Scripture which says,

“They divided my garments among them,
and for my clothing they cast lots.”

So the soldiers did these things, 25 but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.

28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” 29 A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. 30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Understanding and Applying the Word

All four Gospel writers record the crucifixion of Jesus. I would encourage you to read the account of each of the four books. It is truly incredible to read what Jesus Christ endured and suffered as he was hung on a cross to die.

When we come to these passages, we must reflect on the seriousness of the matter. It is a reminder of the ugliness of our sin for it is for this reason that Jesus had to die. He went to the cross as a sacrifice for us so that we could be saved. It took the infinite worth of the blood of Christ to pay our debt. We should never treat sin as a small matter.

Christ’s death at Calvary also reminds us of how great our God loves us, despite our sin. He has gone to the greatest lengths to rescue us. The Father gave his Son for us. That is incredible to think about. Why would the Father do that? Love.

As we spend this Good Friday thinking about Jesus’ death at the cross, let it serve as a reminder of the serious nature of sin and let it also remind us of God’s great love for us.

If you are wondering why Jesus had to die, know that the Bible teaches us that all people are sinful and deserving of condemnation. There is nothing that we can offer to make up for our sin. We cannot buy forgiveness or do religious rituals or do enough good deeds. But God has done something for us. He gave his Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the debt for us by going to the cross and dying as a sacrifice for us. If we repent of (turn away from) our sin and trust in what Christ has done for us (and not trust in our own merits), God promises to forgive us and give us new life. Would you do that as you think about why Jesus had to die?

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The Authority of Jesus Challenged

The Pharisees Question Jesus

The Pharisees Question Jesus – Public Domain

Reading the Word

Matthew 21:23–27 (ESV)

23 And when he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came up to him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” 24 Jesus answered them, “I also will ask you one question, and if you tell me the answer, then I also will tell you by what authority I do these things. 25 The baptism of John, from where did it come? From heaven or from man?” And they discussed it among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ 26 But if we say, ‘From man,’ we are afraid of the crowd, for they all hold that John was a prophet.” 27 So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.

Understanding and Applying the Word

When Jesus entered the temple, he was confronted by the religious leaders. They wanted to know on what authority he was acting. In effect, they were saying, “Who gave you the right to do what you are doing?” After all, Jesus was in the temple, and this was the domain where the religious leaders held authority. They sure had not given him the permission!

In response, Jesus trapped the leaders. The crowds were there and they were listening, so Jesus asked about the authority of John the Baptist’s ministry. The religious leaders did not approve of John either, but the people held him as a prophet sent from God. The religious leaders knew if they denied John’s ministry the crowds would turn on them. They also knew that if they admitted John was sent by God they would be admitting that they had resisted God’s prophet. So they answered, “We do not know.” In reply, Jesus told the leaders that since they were not going to answer his questions, he would not answer theirs.

Jesus’ ministry was stamped with the authority of the Father. At his baptism, the Father spoke from heaven and said, “This is my Son. Listen to him.” Jesus performed many miracles to show that his words were backed by the authority of God. And Jesus continually pointed the people to the word of God to show that all he said was true. But that was not sufficient for many because his authority pushed against their own. This is really the root of mankind’s problem. We desire to be our own authority and do not want to submit to God. Adam and Eve disobeyed in the garden of Eden because they thought that doing so would make them “like God, knowing good and evil” and not having to follow God’s commands. People today do not like that God says that many of the things we do are wrong and are sinful and that we need to repent and call out for forgiveness. “Who are you to judge me?” is the cry.

Jesus came in full authority preaching the message of repentance and forgiveness. Who will submit to him?

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Sealing Jesus’ Tomb

Stone Tomb Closure

Reading the Word

Matthew 27:62–66 (ESV)

62 The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate 63 and said, “Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise.’ 64 Therefore order the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away and tell the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last fraud will be worse than the first.” 65 Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers. Go, make it as secure as you can.” 66 So they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard.

Understanding and Applying the Word

The religious leaders knew that Jesus had proclaimed that he would rise from the dead. They did everything in their power to see to it that such a story could not be fabricated by the disciples. A guard of soldiers was set and the tomb was sealed. No one was going to steal Jesus’ body and make it seem like he had risen.

The plan of the religious leaders was a good one to combat a false resurrection story. If the body was protected and still in the tomb, it would be impossible for others to say Jesus had risen just as he said he would. However, the plan had one major problem. What if Jesus really did rise from the dead? What if no one tried to steal the body and make up a false story, but Jesus rose and left the tomb on his own?

The resurrection is the center event of the whole Bible. It verifies all that Jesus said about himself. He truly is the Son of God! It is amazing to think that as hard as the religious leaders tried to put Jesus in a tomb and keep him there, they could not. He rose and the truth of the gospel spread quickly throughout the Roman world. This was not a made up story. The tomb was empty!

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Why Do You Seek the Living among the Dead?

Luke 245–6 [widescreen]

Today is a special day as we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord. May we all be encouraged as we consider what this event means for all of mankind. Be sure to subscribe to this page so you can follow along each day as we read through the life of Jesus.

Luke 24:1–12 (ESV)

1 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. 2 And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. 5 And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, 7 that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” 8 And they remembered his words, 9 and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. 10 Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, 11 but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. 12 But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened.