Dr. Marc Drake, Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church Sun Lakes
After Jesus died, he was buried in a tomb with a big stone rolled up against it. A short time later, the religious leaders came to the Roman governor Pilate and asked for permission to seal the stone and guard the tomb. They expressed concern that because Jesus had predicted his resurrection in three days, his disciples might steal the body and then spread the word that Jesus had risen. So to keep that from happening, they wanted to make sure the tomb was heavily guarded over the next three days. Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers. Go, make it as secure as you know how.” (Matt. 27:65) And they did – but to no avail! You see, these men were simply rock watchers. They weren’t expecting a resurrection – a body snatching, perhaps – but not a resurrection. So men were sent to watch a rock, to make sure no one went in the tomb and no one came out. But it didn’t matter how many guards, seals or rocks were there. When it was time for Jesus to rise, that’s exactly what he did.
The truth is: Unbelief sets guards over sealed tombs. And the unbelief of that day is prevalent in our day as well. Many people still try to keep Jesus buried. They may use academic scorn, political harassment, media bias or physical persecution. And for a season, they will think the tomb is finally sealed. But it never works. He breaks out! And the reason Jesus breaks out is because he was never forced in. As he says in John 10:17-18, “I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again.” In referring to Jesus, Hebrews 7:16 speaks of “the power of an indestructible life.” And Acts 2:24 says that it was not possible for Jesus to be held in death’s power. Therefore, Satan lost and Jesus won!
As a result, the declaration “He is risen” has reverberated through the centuries and is a joyful shout that outlives both rocks and unbelieving people. Therefore, Christians are glad recipients of God’s amazing grace. They are also awed worshipers at Christ’s empty tomb.
What about you? Are you simply watching rocks or dancing for joy because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ? You see, forgiveness is in him alone. Eternal life is in him alone. He alone conquered the grave. And he alone can change your life.