Raised from the Dead
Pastor Tom Ascol, in an Easter message entitle “Raised from the Dead,” addresses John’s Gospel Chapter 20:1-31. The resurrection of Jesus Christ changes everything, particularly the realities of both history and the future as well as man’s standing with God. John wrote his gospel to prove Jesus was the long awaited messiah. It was to be in that messiah people needed to trust in order to be saved and enjoy God’s salvation. As part of John’s proof he offers as the chief exhibit the greatest of miracles, the greatest sign Jesus performed on earth, His resurrection.
The evidence for the resurrection is overwhelming. There was the almost-empty tomb, almost since it contained neatly folded grave clothes but no body. This was seen by Mary, other women, and Peter and John. Jesus appeared to His followers after His death again showing the reality of the resurrection. He was seen by Mary and the apostles in the locked room, once while Thomas was absent and once when he was present. The other gospels present further appearances, on the road to Emmaus, at the Sea of Galilee, to the five hundred among others. In addition to the tomb and post-resurrection appearances, Jesus’ resurrection changed lives. For example, Mary Magdalene went from sorrow to joy. The disciples went from meek fishermen to bold proclaimers of the Gospel. So convinced were the apostles of the truth of the resurrection they were willing to suffer martyrdom. The church created by Jesus grew and multiplied as people applied the truth of the resurrection to their lives and trusted in Christ for eternal salvation.
The change seen in these historical people is available to all. Jesus is willing to transform your life. John’s gospel was written “that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31) Believing and trusting in the Messiah, the only One Who has been resurrected and lives today, can change your life. Jesus, in his post-resurrection appearances to the disciples, greeted them in the locked room with the words “Shalom Aleichem,” peace be with you. Jesus still offers that peace. It is a peace “which surpasses all understanding” (Phil 4:7). It is a peace which bridges the great gulf between man’s sinfulness and God’s holiness. It is a peace available by trust, a trust which enables reconciliation between man and God. Trust Jesus for the salvation He provides and offers.