Bible Society of South Africa

Living God – 28 September 2020

By Ben Fourie

Bible text(s)

5The angel spoke to the women. “You must not be afraid,” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6He is not here; he has been raised, just as he said. Come here and see the place where he was lying.

Matthew 28:5-6GNBOpen in Bible reader

o the people in the time of Jesus, the idea of somebody being resurrected from the grave was not so completely foreign as it is to us of modern times. Many religions had stories of a god who died and then came back to life, for example the Egyptian god, Osiris. In the Old Testament, we find only three stories of someone being raised from the dead and they are all connected with either Elijah or Elisha. The stories about the resurrection of the daughter of Jairus and of Lazarus must have been fairly well known, at least among the followers of Jesus.

In spite of the above evidence, the women going to the grave in the early hours of Sunday morning were looking for a body and not a living Jesus. Resurrection is, after all, not a common occurrence. Even for them as his followers, the very idea of Jesus coming back to life was just too unreal. Maybe it was because they had seen how Joseph of Arimathea had taken the limp body from the cross and they might even have seen the wound made by the spear. Can we blame them for not believing?

What do you and I, in the spring of the year 2020, believe about the resurrection of Jesus Christ? Many people, who otherwise see themselves as followers of Jesus have a problem accepting the resurrection. They follow his teachings, live according to the principles that are expected of a Christian and even believe in the concept of someone who gave his life for the benefit of all, but someone being raised from the dead? Not really.

Paul said that if he did not believe in the resurrection, he deserved more pity than anyone else in the world. I can say with great honesty that I do not understand how someone could have been raised from the dead, but I do believe with all my heart that Jesus had triumphed over death on that Sunday morning. As the angel said to the women, “He is not here, he has been raised …” If I could not believe that, religion would have made little sense to me.

Prayer: How can I ever explain my joy at the fact that Jesus has risen and had left an empty grave? Amen

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