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Purpose

Many a man has faced death wondering what was waiting for him on the other side. Jesus Christ is Someone who knew what was waiting on the other side and talked freely about it. His death is the most significant in all of human history. The story surrounding the death of this innocent Man is one of drama, intrigue, betrayal, conspiracy, hatred and love. The unique thing about the death of Christ is that He possessed a knowledge not only of what would happen during His impending death, but also of what would happen three days later. History proved He knew exactly what He was talking about.

Matthew was a eyewitness of these events. He recorded, From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!” But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men. (Matthew 16:21-23) all quotations are taken from the NKJV

A little over a week later, Matthew again recorded, Now while they were staying in Galilee, Jesus said to them, ‘The Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him, and the third day He will be raised up.' And they were exceedingly sorrowful. (Matthew 17:22-23)

A little while later, for a third time, Matthew recorded, Now Jesus, going up to Jerusalem, took the twelve disciples aside on the road and said to them, ‘Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death, and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again. (Matthew 20:17-19)

It would be one thing for someone to have an inkling that bad things were ahead which could probably mean their death, but this went way beyond that. Each time there was also the prediction of a resurrection from the dead! John was another eyewitness of these events. He recorded this conversation with Jesus, A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me, because I go to the Father." Then some of His disciples said among themselves, "What is this that He says to us,... We do not know what He is saying." Now Jesus knew that they desired to ask Him, and He said to them, "Are you inquiring among yourselves about what I said,... Most assuredly, I say to you that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy. A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you. (John 16:16-22)

Obviously the weeping and lamenting would accompany His death, and the rejoicing, would accompany His resurrection. How could He know such things? How could He know the reaction of the disciples? Jesus gives us this hint: You have heard Me say to you, ‘I am going away and coming back to you.' If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, ‘I am going to the Father,' for My Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe. (John 14:28-29)

This resurrection and ability to "come back," not only says something about the God behind the event, but it also says something about the nature of the One resurrected. Paul says, concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. (Romans 1:3-4)

The Apostle Peter comments on something similar in 2 Peter 1:17 when he says, For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

God made this declaration while Jesus Christ was still living. Christ also received honor and glory from God when He raised Him from the dead. Some might wonder whether Jesus went through all of this to simply show us an example of how to please God? Can you and I reasonably hope that we could please God in the same way so we could be raised from the dead? No, that would be asking the impossible. Jesus Christ was perfect. He never sinned nor did He ever do anything wrong. He certainly did not deserve to die on the cross. After examining Jesus, Pilate said, You have brought this Man to me, as one who misleads the people. And indeed, having examined Him in your presence, I have found no fault in this Man concerning those things of which you accuse Him; (Luke 23:14)

Not one of us could measure up to the perfect example of Jesus Christ. Yet the Bible makes clear that Jesus Christ's resurrection gives us a reason to hope. Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up-if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable. (1 Corinthians 15:12-19)

The statement that jumps off the page is "you are still in your sins!" There is something about Christ's resurrection from the dead that is directly connected to forgiveness of sins. That is vital, because it means it is possible for sinners to hope in a resurrection from the dead. How can that be? The answer is that Christ died for sinners; He satisfied God's righteous demand for justice when He took our place and faced God's wrath against sin. He rose again from the dead so that "as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive" (1 Corinthians 15:22). He now invites all to forsake a life of sin and believe in Him alone for forgiveness of sins and eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God. John 3:16-21

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