Read Matthew 28:1-20
Did you ever wonder why, when Jesus was arrested, all of his disciples fled? He was the one who they left everything for. The person who they gave up their livelihood to follow. He gets arrested and they bolt! He is tried by the Jewish leaders and then is crucified and only one disciple, we are told, was present.
But something happened. Something life changing. As a matter of fact, it is the greatest event in the history of the world! You see, these same disciples who fled Jesus when He was arrested had experienced something so amazing that they ended up taking the gospel to the ends of the earth, suffering greatly and dying violent deaths.
They saw the risen Jesus Christ!
Three days after being crucified, dying an excruciating death and being buried, Jesus rose from the grave. Their leader had been killed so one would think that those who wanted Jesus dead would expect the entire following to cease to exist.
This would have been a good time to go into retirement or go into hiding for the fear of their lives. After taking the gospel, the Good News of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the ends of the earth, this is what happened to the disciples of Jesus:
- Peter: crucified upside down in Rome
- Andrew: scourged and crucified
- Thomas: pierced the spears of soldiers
- Philip: hung to death
- Matthew: stabbed to death and beheaded
- Bartholomew: severely whipped to death
- James: stabbed to death
- Jude: shot to death with arrows
- James (the Lesser): crucified
- Matthais (who replaced Judas): burned to death
- John: exiled to the island of Patmos after escaping being cast into boiling oil
Had the resurrection not occurred, do you think they would have faced such persecution to share the Gospel?
But they witnessed the resurrected Jesus. For 40 days following the resurrection, Jesus appeared to His followers and proved He was risen. They saw Him and walked with Him and spoke with Him. They saw the nail pierced hands and feet.
The resurrection of Jesus is the very cornerstone of our faith.
Without the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we would have no hope in our future resurrection. We would have no salvation from sin. The resurrection validates that Jesus was who He claimed to be. It was proof that the testimony of Jesus and the prophets before Him were true. And for those who witnessed the resurrected Christ…
Their lives would never be the same.
Before Jesus ascended into heaven, He gave them a final charge. If the gospel was going to be taken to the world, it was going to take action on behalf of the followers of Jesus. And He said:
“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you.”
It’s our time. It’s time to rise up and take the gospel to those around us and beyond. It is time for us to tell the world.
HE IS RISEN!