VICTORY OF THE RESURRECTION
Matthew 27:62-66; 28:1-10
INTRODUCTION: The good news of the gospel is referring to the death and resurrection. We often talk about the death of Jesus on the cross and His resurrection from the dead as the cornerstone of our Christian belief. If Christ did not rise, it means our faith is in vain and useless (I Cor. 15:14). But thank God, Christ our Saviour rose from the dead and He is alive. By His resurrection, He has assuredly paid our ransom and the payment has been accepted. Furthermore, His death on the cross makes our death to the old ways of life possible. This translates to mean that our old-self was crucified with and a new life sets in (Rom. 6:4) “I pray that the body controlled by sin which the death and resurrection of Jesus had withdrawn from you shall never be resuscitated again in Jesus’ name”.
The Historical Truths about Christ’s Resurrection (Matt. 27:62-66): After His arrest, Jesus was brought before Pilate for trial. The priests, Sadducees and Pharisees conspired together to effect His arrest (Matt.26:3-4). During His trials, they came together again to protect themselves against the claims of Jesus that He would rise on the third day. They advised Governor Pilate to provide a tight security around the tomb where Jesus was buried. The meaning of this is that they prepared to prevent Jesus from rising from the tomb. In the alternative, they were ready to prevent His body from being stolen either by His disciples or His friends. They were drawing a battle line between divine and human authority. Their action suggests that they had authority over Jesus’ life and death (vs. 62-64). They brought in Roman security guards. To make the tomb more secure, they rolled a very big stone to cover the entrance of the tomb (vs. 65-66). To cap it all, a Roman seal was waxed on the stone. Every obstacle trying to prevent you from reaching the helper of your soul shall be destroyed in Jesus’ name.
Divine Authority versus Human Authority (Matt. 28:1-10): God was ready to prove His sovereignty. At the instance of God (when the time was come), a great earthquake occurred, some tombs opened and some saints were raised from their tombs/from the dead. An angel of the Lord came down from heaven. He rolled off the great stone from the entrance of the tomb, and sat upon it (Matt. 28:2). The presence of the angel brought a feeling of a great fear on the Roman guards. They became stiff as dead men. The tomb opened and our Saviour came out alive. He was going to wait for His frightened, heart-broken eleven disciples at Galilee.
Coincidentally, three faithful women who followed Jesus from Galilee arrived at the sepulcher (tomb) in the early hours of Sunday morning; their mission was to anoint the body of their Master. Frightened Mary of Magdalene (known as Mary Magdalene) Luke 8:2, the other Mary (probably the mother of James and Joses) Matt. 27:56 and Mary the mother of Jesus were on a mission of love. They were aware that the big stone was a problem and could prevent them from reaching Jesus’ body yet they refused to allow it to deter them from their mission. On their arrival, their obstacle had been removed. The angel allowed them to confirm the emptiness of the tomb. All obstacles preventing you from reaching the Saviour, shall be destroyed in Jesus name.
The Faithful Women as Errands of Joy (Matt. 28:7-10): The sight of an angel and the fear stricken soldiers struck terror into the hearts of these women. But the angel who understood their plight quickly reassured them with the news that gives Christians world-wide cause to celebrate. “The crucified was alive again”. The resurrection of Jesus from the dead bit the imagination of the chief priests and Pharisees who were taking all precautions against a resurrection. The power of the Almighty God neutralized the authority of humans. “I pray that every authority working against your freedom be quashed and destroyed in the name of Jesus”. The angel’s message was backed up by evidence “The tomb was empty. Come; see the place where the Lord lay” (Matt. 28:6). The angel advised them to go quickly and tell His disciples. On their way, Jesus met the women. He prevented them from touching Him, but they worshipped Him. He advised them not to be afraid, but to inform the eleven that He was waiting for them in Galilee. As the women went, wherever they met a follower of Jesus, they shared the good news with him/her.
What Victory Are We Talking About?
1. The curtain in the Temple was torn. This symbolized the truth that Jesus, through His death had opened the way to God. Everyone of us can access God.
2. The earthquake caused some tombs to open. Saints were raised from their tombs. This symbolized the truth that people who belong to Jesus would share in His triumph over death.
3. The Roman guards (who were pagans) were convinced that Jesus is the son of God. Everyone in the world today believes that Jesus is coming back.
4. The terrified enemies of Jesus’ momentary victory were rendered void by the appearance of the risen Saviour, the living Jesus and powerful conqueror of death.
5. The rising from the dead of Jesus guarantees a blissful future for all believers in Jesus. The path through death leads to life eternal for God’s people.
6. It is victory for all believers because people saw, touched, ate with Him and witnessed His ascension to heaven.
Conclusion: Yes, the Roman soldiers waxed a seal on the stone at the entrance of the tomb. This suggests that in the world today there are many who still doubt the resurrection of Jesus Christ. They fail because Jesus is alive, He is no more in the grave. God has called us as believers to witness the good news to them in this dying world. Therefore, we must feel a strong sense of compulsion to share this good news to them until they have a face-to-face and a heart-to-heart meeting with the risen Saviour. The trend in Nigeria today makes her a “lone-some place” i.e. “a world without the risen Saviour”. We must liberate the minds of people and fill their hearts with optimism that through Jesus Christ alone, we have eternal life. Everybody deserves the right to accept Jesus as Saviour and receive the gift of life through Him. Christ is alive; He has conquered death and the grave! Hallelujah! Shalom.
HABITS IN CHURCH
Christians generally are known for doing some good things: helping the poor, feeding the hungry, caring for the sick, uplifting the downtrodden, fighting for justice and many other feats of love. But Christians also own a poor reputation for numerous bad habits. And as a believer, there are many things we take for granted while in the presence of God. As humans, we display different kinds of funny and unacceptable character / behavior in the presence of the Most High, the creator of the heavens and earth. It’s so funny that we can’t even try most of these things in the presence of our boss, teachers, leaders etc. Being in the presence of God does not only mean being in the place of worship like the church. The Word of the Lord says, where two or three are gathered together in my name, I’m there in their midst (Matthew 18:20). So it could be a place of gathering of believers in family devotion, house fellowship, office prayer meeting which is rare this day, quiet time etc. can also be classified as being in the presence of God. Anytime devoted to worship, praise, pray and to learn at His feet can simply being in the presence of God. Either as a group, congregation or as an individual.
Here are some of the bad habits we must avoid while in the presence of God:
1. Receiving / Making Phone Calls: This habit is very common these days now both in the church or anywhere we are communing with God. This is a bad attitude that we must deal with.
2. Gossiping. Many people don’t recognize the presence of God. They will begin to gossip all kinds of things in the church. Some will be talking about sports, politics, and movies and even gossiping about their husband next plan in the church. Let’s respect the presence of God and avoid unclean matters.
3. Opening The Eyes While Praying: Many of us are fond of this one. Opening the eyes why praying makes us to loose concentration in the presence of God. Make amendment.
4. Indecent dressings which cause unnecessary Distractions: This happens to women especially. Whenever they just got a new shoe, new hairstyle, head gear and new clothing style. They will parade the church to and fro as if they are the new elected ushers. Coming to God’s presence in skimpy and body revealing attires e.t.c. In the presence of God, there must be orderliness and liberty.
5. Social Media: Face-booking, twittering, instagramming, snap chatting, what-sapping e.t.c, while in the presence of God is an error. We might think its fun but it’s actually not, because in the presence of God, there is abundant fullness of Joy (Psalm 16:11).
6. Taking Selfie on the Altar: This one is very common these days. We have really been abusing the altar in one way or the other. The altar is the most holy and consecrated place in the church, we must also respect it. We can take any picture we want beside the altar but not climbing the altar. In the Old Testament, nobody dare come to the altar to do strange things, immediately that person will be consumed by fire. But Our Lord Jesus Christ has paid the price in full and we must not abuse the Grace and take it for granted.
7. Sleeping While The Service Is On-Going: Many of us are victims of this. Though we can’t cheat nature but we can still control it. Let’s try and adjust.
8. Not Dancing: Many of us don’t dance while in the church. Forgetting that many shackles have been broken when dancing, many people have received deliverance, healing, breakthrough while dancing. In the old time, they have no drums or keyboard yet they still danced and the mighty power of God moved. So what’s now stopping us from dancing to our maker?
9. Going Late To Church: We go early to our various working place, lecture room, interviews but we come late to church and we expect God to do a mighty miracle. Some peoples miracle is in the Sunday school, some in the choir ministration, some is even in the announcement. So why delay your miracle to last minute when you can have it in the early minutes.
10. Your Bible: As a believer, your Bible is very important in your life. It’s the number one tool you need after your salvation. Let your Bible be with you always when you are in His presence.
Beloved, these are 10 bad habits to avoid in the place of worship and in the presence Of God, identify your own and work on it. God bless you.