Whilst going through some of my notes I accidentally found a portion on the history of the Gospels. Here is a report from Flavius Josephus (37-97 AD), court historian for Emperor Vespasian:
“At this time there was a wise man who was called Jesus. And his conduct was good and he was known to be virtuous. And many people from among the Jews and other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. And those who had become his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion and that he was alive; accordingly, he was perhaps the messiah concerning whom the prophets have recounted wonders.” (Arabic translation)
What Flavius Josephus reports has a lot of integrity, and he was a non-Christian! This is what we call extra-biblical information that comes from outside the Bible.
During the Middle Ages the belief in the afterlife was promoted through literary and artistic representations of hell as a place of absolute terror where those that were damned writhed and screamed forever, and those that were in paradise were in a beautiful place where the saved saints bask in the eternal glory of God.
Today, the belief in conscious existence after death is propagated through the polished image of mediums and psychics, the sophisticated “scientific” research into near-death experiences, and the popular New Age channeling (dangerous stuff!), with the alleged spirits of the past. These various methods are very successful in making people believe Satan’s lie that no matter what they do, they “shall not die” (Gen 3:4) but become like gods by living for ever.
So what does the resurrection of Jesus mean to you today?
To the world outside it means, Easter eggs, bunny rabbits, and a whole lot of pagan stuff that is attached to Easter. But we do not celebrate this festival which is truly not Christian, or even Jewish for that matter!
Let me share three things:
Firstly, the resurrection means that we have a risen Saviour!
Look at Mary Magdalene. After the others had left the tomb, she looked into the tomb and saw two angels (John 20:11, 12) and they asked her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She told them it was because “they” had taken away the body of Jesus, and as she turned around, she saw Jesus standing there, not knowing it was Him (John 20:13, 14).
Luke’s account tells us the angels told her and the other women, “He is not here, but is risen!” (Luke 24:6).
With this news, no doubt their emotions were completely blown away! He is risen! There was no need for sorrow for His enemies having taken His body away because, the fact was, He had risen from the dead!
Secondly the resurrection means that Jesus is coming back again!
When Paul wrote to the Thessalonian church about their misconceptions of death and Christ’s coming, he revealed that at His coming, “we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thess. 4:16).
So, there is no need for sorrow at His resurrection, but great joy for what it means! It means that when He comes again, those who are His will be raised up with Him, and will be with Him forever!
This is personal, but hey, I love Jesus.
The resurrection means I can know Him deeper, walk a closer walk with Him, receive from Him all I need in every faculty of my being and…live everyday in victory!
It means He can give me deeper revelation about Himself as I study the Word. It means my life changes every day, in preparation to that awesome day when I see Him face to face!
So Happy Resurrection Day!
May the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob bless you with His abundance and fullness. May His hand guide you, His power fill you, His love overwhelm you and His face shine on you. And may you always walk in victory. In the Name of Yeshua the Messiah. Amen!