CHRIST'S BURIAL AND RESURRECTION

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    [Matthew:27:57-66]; [Matthew:28:1-15].

    Lesson No.: 
    221
    Class: 
    Senior
    Memory Verse: 

    "Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteous-ness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead" (Acts 17:31).

    Cross References: 

    I Burial of Jesus Christ
    1. Jesus was buried in a rich man's tomb, as was prophesied, [Matthew:27:57-60]; [Isaiah:53:9]; [Mark:15:42-46]; [Luke:23:50-53]; [John:19:38].
    2 Mary Magdalene and the other Mary watched the burial of Jesus, [Matthew:27:61]; [Mark:15:47]; [Luke:23:55-56].

    II Pharisaical Connivance
    1. The Pharisees solicited and received aid of the Romans in an attempt to prevent the resurrection of Jesus, [Matthew:27:62-66]; [Psalms:2:1], [Psalms:2:3].

    III The Resurrection Morning
    1. The power of the Roman guard was set at nought by the angel of God, [Matthew:28:1-4].
    2. An angel delivered the glad news of Jesus' resurrection, [Matthew:28:2-7]; [Mark:16:6]; [Luke:24:6].
    3. The women were sent to tell Jesus' disciples of His resurrection, and that He would meet them in Galilee, [Matthew:28:7]; [Matthew:26:32]; [Mark:16:7].
    4. The enemies of Jesus were confounded by His resurrection, [Matthew:28:11-15]; [Psalms:78:65-66]; [Isaiah:51:9]; [Isaiah:42:13-16].
    5. Jesus met the women as they went to do the angel's bidding, [Matthew:28:8-10]; [Mark:16:9].

    Notes: 

    Rich Man's Tomb
    One of God's ministers of an earlier day said of the prophecies concerning the death and burial of Christ: "A keen sighted man may forecast tendencies, and go far to anticipate events on a large scale, but only God can see trifles." Only God would have looked down through centuries of time and forecast so exactingly the detailed happenings of the death of Christ. One of these detailed predictions was spoken by the Prophet Isaiah: "And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death" (Isaiah:53:9).

    Jesus did make His grave with the wicked in the sense that He was crucified as a malefactor between two thieves. These three men entered into death the same day, and their graves received their bodies. This in itself was a remarkable fulfillment of prophecy, for the prophets who spoke of Jesus did not understand and know all the events concerning His death and resurrection. Consequently, they could not have foretold the death of Christ unless God revealed it to them. Who but God could have said that Jesus would die with the wicked and yet be buried in the tomb of the rich?

    The persecutors of Jesus had made it hazardous for His followers, but especially so at the time of the crucifixion. Nevertheless, in this perilous hour, Joseph of Arimathæa stepped forward and desired the body of Jesus Making his request known to Pontius Pilate, he was granted permission to bury His body. This Joseph did, and thus was Christ buried in the tomb of the rich; for Joseph was rich, and had a tomb already prepared, as was the custom. Thus God proved the infallibility of His Word by the fulfilling of these detailed happenings that had been predicted many hundreds of years before.

    Roman Watch and Seal
    The Pharisees came to Pilate desiring him to grant them assistance to make sure that the body of Jesus would not be stolen from His tomb by His disciples. Pilate granted them their request. Guards were set at the tomb, and the Roman seal was placed upon the rock that prevented entrance into it.

    The Pharisees had told Pilate they were afraid the disciples would steal the body of Jesus, and then claim He had been resurrected. They remembered Jesus' statements that He would rise again. It is remarkable that they seemed to have more faith in the possibility of Christ's resurrection than did Jesus' own disciples. They knew that Jesus was dead but these Pharisees still feared and respected the power He had exercised during His life, and they took every possible precaution to prevent either a revival of His teachings or His resurrection. If human hands could have held Jesus Christ in His grave He would still be there. But His enemies had had their hour! The hour of darkness was almost gone, and soon the brilliant light of a new day in God's great plan was to burst forth. By coming out of His grave Christ became the firstfruits of our resurrection, the hope and surety of every Christian!

    Jew and Gentile, the world, the flesh, and the devil had all conspired to kill the Lord of Glory, seeking to be rid of Him forever. They had done their worst, and now God was about to show them the power of His might and glory.

    Empty Tomb
    We can imagine the consternation of the Pharisees and the Romans when they heard of the resurrection of Christ. The news of the resurrection has been the cause for shouts of joy and victory by God's people that have never been successfully silenced. God's great work had been accomplished, and salvation from sin was assured. The proud might of Rome, represented by the Roman guards, was swept aside, and the great stone guarding the entrance to Jesus' tomb was rolled away by an angel of God. How easily were these seeming obstacles to Jesus' resurrection moved aside by our Lord.

    Death, hell, and the grave, were conquered as well. No earthly hand could hinder Him in any other thing, and neither could any combination of Satan's power or devices hold the Lord in that grave. The war cry of the Church militant since that glad morning has been, "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" (I Corinthians:15:55). The words of Isaiah became true: "The kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider" ([Isaiah:52:15]; [Romans:15:21]).

    Glad Message
    Jesus had told His disciples that the time would come when they would be sorrowful because of coming events, but that their joy would return. "Ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.... And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh away from you" (John:16:20, 22). "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning" (Psalm:30:5).

    The night of sorrow was over for those who loved Jesus. The women, broken-hearted because of their Master's death, had come early to the sepulchre, and had arrived in time to be the first to hear the glad news the angel had to proclaim: "He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come see the place where the Lord lay" (Matthew:28:6).

    These women received with gladness the news of the resurrection, as have many since that time. It was with haste, and with hearts full of joy, that these women set off to do the angel's bidding, to tell Jesus' disciples what wonderful events had transpired.

    The Risen Christ
    The women had hardly started on their way to find the disciples when Jesus appeared to them in person. So it ever is. No sooner do we believe the witness of those who know than we shall see this resurrected Christ for ourselves. (See [Acts:10:41].) Such is the blessed reward for those who are early seeking the Lord, for it is God's promise that "ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart" (Jeremiah:29:13).

    The news of the resurrection of Jesus was no cause of rejoicing so far as the Pharisees were concerned. Faced with the fact of one of the most stupendous events that ever would occur in the world's history, they could resort only to more lies, more bribery, more falsehood, in an attempt to disclaim it. They bribed the soldiers, who had been watching Jesus' tomb, to say that the disciples had come and stolen the body of Jesus. Even so, God had performed His wonderful work. (See [Isaiah:28:21]; [Acts:13:40-41]; [Habakkuk:1:5].) The mouths of those who spoke lies against Christ were silenced ([Psalms:63:11]; [Acts:13:30]).

    Gospel Message
    With the resurrection of Christ, the Christian Dispensation began. The message and hope of the resurrection as the foundation of the Gospel was to be proclaimed and preached wherever men could be found. Jesus did not tell His disciples to restrict their efforts to the Jews alone. "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations" was the Gospel message. As Jesus had died for all men, so were all men to hear the tidings of His resurrection. The work of those who saw Him after His death and resurrection was to tell the glad tidings to those who had not seen, for that is God's way.

    Not all would receive the message of God's Son who had died and had risen again for men's justification. Jesus told Thomas, who said he would not believe except he could place his hand into the wounds of Christ: "Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed" (John:20:29).

    So we learn that there is no individual value in the story of Christ's resurrection except as we incorporate the truth of it into our souls. When we do that, God will bear vitalizing witness to us of its truth. We shall feel the power of that resurrection coming into our lives, enabling us to walk in newness of life, and giving us the hope of being forever with the Lord.

    Questions: 

    1. In what respect was Jesus' burial prophesied by the prophets?
    2. Who were the first to see Jesus after His resurrection?
    3. How did the Pharisees hope to prevent Jesus' resurrec-tion?
    4. Do you think they really believed He would be resurrected?
    5. Why is the resurrection the Christian's vital hope?