under a special agreement with
presents "New Life in Christ" Course 2
under a special agreement with
"I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forevermore…" Revelation 1:18
Have you ever stood by the grave of a loved one and sorrowed as you watched the body of your precious loved one go down into the earth? If so, then you know that death is a terrible enemy. If the Lord does not come for us before we die, each one of us will have to pass through death. The Bible says,
"It is appointed unto men once to die…"
But we do not have to fear death if we have trusted Christ as our Saviour. Why? Because Jesus Christ has conquered this enemy, death. The Bible says that He has broken the power of death and has brought us everlasting life through the gospel.
The word "gospel" means "good news," and the Apostle Paul tells us what the good news is. Paul wrote,
"Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel…how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures." (1 Corinthians 15:1, 3, 4)
From these verses we see that the gospel of Jesus Christ rests on two great facts:
1. Christ died for our sins.
2. Christ rose from the dead.
Actually, the Bible tells us about a number of people whom God raised from the dead. In every instance, however, these people died later on.
But with the Lord Jesus it was different. He rose from the grave, never to die again. He said,
"I am He that lives, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forevermore." Revelation 1:18
Jesus foretold His resurrection
The Lord Jesus told His disciples that He was going to suffer, and be killed, and after three days rise again. Jesus said,
"A little while, and you shall not see Me (because He would be crucified): and again, a little while, and you shall see Me (because He would rise again). You shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy." John 16:16, 20
Many of the Jews did not believe that Jesus was the Son of God. They hated Him and wanted to kill Him. On one occasion, they asked Him to give them a sign that He was really the Son of God. Jesus told them that He would give them one sign: the sign of Jonah the prophet. Jesus said,
"For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." Matthew 12:40
What did Jesus mean? He meant that He would be in the grave three days and three nights just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale. Then He would rise again. His resurrection would be the sign or proof that He was truly the Son of God.
Jesus was crucified
The Lord Jesus was crucified about nine o'clock in the morning, and He died about three o'clock in the afternoon. From noon until three o'clock, there was darkness over all the land. Then Jesus cried, "It is finished," and He died. Immediately the veil of the temple was torn apart from top to bottom. There was a great earthquake; the rocks were split open.
Later on, after Jesus had died, the Roman soldiers came. They broke the legs of the thief on one side of Jesus. They broke the legs of the thief on the other side. But, when the soldiers came to Jesus, they saw that He was already dead, so they did not break His legs. This was a direct fulfillment of Psalm 34:20 ("He keeps all his bones: not one of them is broken") where it was prophesied that not one bone would be broken in the Savior's body.
Jesus was buried
A rich man named Joseph of Arimathaea came to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. When Pilate knew for sure that Jesus was dead, he granted Joseph's request.
Joseph and another disciple prepared Jesus' body for burial. His body was wrapped in hundreds of yards of linen cloth. Sweet smelling spices were placed in the linen cloth as it was wound about the body of Jesus.
Jesus' body was placed in a new tomb which had been carved out of solid rock. A large stone was rolled against the opening of the tomb.
The Pharisees were afraid that Jesus' disciples might steal His body and claim that He had risen from the grave, so they asked Pilate to assign Roman soldiers to guard the tomb. Pilate granted their request.
Jesus rose from the grave
The body of Jesus lay in the tomb three days and three nights. On the third day, before daylight, the Lord Jesus rose from the dead!
Afterwards, there was a mighty earthquake. The angel of the Lord descended from Heaven and rolled back the stone from the door of the tomb. The Bible says that the Roman soldiers "shook with fear and became as dead men."
Very early that same morning three women came to the tomb of Jesus. They wanted to put spices on His body. But when they arrived, they found that the tomb was empty. The angel said to them,
"Fear not…for I know that you seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for He is risen…" Matthew 28:5-6
The women ran back to tell the disciples that Jesus had risen. They met Peter and John and told them what they had seen and heard. Peter and John ran to the tomb. When they reached the tomb of Jesus, they saw an amazing sight!
The linen cloth which had been wrapped around Jesus' body was lying there undisturbed. It was still in the form of a man, but the body of Jesus was gone. The napkin which had been over Jesus' face was folded and lying in a corner by itself. Jesus had risen!
After the disciples left, Mary Magdalene stood outside the tomb weeping. She stooped down and looked inside the tomb and saw two angels. They said to her, "Why weepest thou?" Mary replied, "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid Him."
As she turned away, someone spoke to her. It was Jesus Himself. He said, "Woman, why weepest thou? Whom seekest thou?" Mary did not look up. She thought He was the gardener. Jesus spoke again, saying, "Mary!" She turned and recognized the Lord Jesus and exclaimed, "Master!"
That night ten of the disciples met in a closed room to talk about the strange events of the day. Thomas was not with them. The doors were locked for fear of the Jews.
Suddenly Jesus appeared in their midst and said, "Peace be unto you."
The disciples were afraid. They thought Jesus was a spirit, but Jesus said,
"Why are you troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit has not flesh and bones, as you see Me have." Luke 24:38-39
The disciples looked at Jesus in amazement. Jesus said to them, "Have you here any meat?" They gave Him a piece of fish and some honeycomb, and He ate it before them.
Jesus had risen from the grave in His body of flesh and bones! How did the disciples know this? They saw Him, they touched Him, they talked with Him, they ate with Him.
The disciples could hardly wait to see Thomas and tell him the good news. But, when they told Thomas about seeing Jesus alive, Thomas did not believe them. He said,
"Except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe." John 20:25
Eight days later, the disciples were again in the same room. This time Thomas was with them. Again Jesus appeared to them and said, "Peace be unto you." He turned to Thomas and said, "Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing." Thomas did not doubt any longer. He worshipped the Lord Jesus saying, "My Lord and my God!" (John 20:28)
The Lord Jesus appeared on the earth for a period of forty days after He rose from the grave. The Bible tells us of at least ten occasions when Jesus appeared to His disciples after His resurrection. The Bible says,
"…He showed Himself alive after His passion (His death) by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days…" Acts 1:3
The resurrection of Jesus proves that He is the Son of God. We know that Jesus rose from the dead, but what does His resurrection really mean?
The resurrection of Jesus means that He is truly the Son of God and that all He said is true. If you are ever troubled with doubts about your salvation or if you have friends who have doubts about the Bible, put them all aside and settle the whole matter on this question: Did Jesus Christ really die, and did He really rise again?
Yes, Jesus really did die, and He really did rise again. Therefore, we know that He is the Son of God and that all He said is true. We can put our complete trust in Him. The Bible says,
"Jesus Christ was…declared to be the Son of God with power…by the resurrection from the dead." Romans 1:3-4
The resurrection of Jesus guarantees our resurrection. God has promised to make His children alive again after death. Can He do this? Yes, He can! How do we know? Because He raised Jesus from the dead. Jesus said,
"Because I live, you shall live also." John 14:19
Even though we know that we will live again, we have many questions. What happens when a Christian dies? Where do we go? What happens to our body? What will we be like in Heaven? Will we know our loved ones in Heaven? These are very important questions. Let us see what the Word of God has to say about them.
What happens when a Christian dies?
He goes to be with Jesus! The body is laid in the grave, but the person—soul and spirit—goes immediately to be with the Lord Jesus. The Apostle Paul said,
"For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." Philippians 1:21
Why did Paul say that it was "gain" to die? Because it meant going to be with Christ. When a Christian loved one dies, we are sorrowful, and this is natural because we miss them so much. But we must remember that they are with Jesus and this is far better than being here.
What happens to our body?
When a Christian dies, his body is placed in the grave. The body is spoken of as "being asleep in Jesus." When Jesus comes again, God will raise our bodies and give us new bodies. Speaking of our body as a house, the Apostle Paul said,
"For we know that if our earthly house (our body)…were dissolved (dies) we have a building of God, an house not made with hands (a new body), eternal in the heavens." 2 Corinthians 5:1
What is Paul saying here? He is saying, "We know that, if we die and our body goes back to dust, we will one day have a wonderful new body that God Himself will make for us and we will live forever in Heaven."
What will we be like in Heaven? We will be like Jesus! We will have a body just like His glorious resurrection body. The Bible says,
"Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is." 1 John 3:2
Will we know our loved ones in Heaven? Yes, we will! We shall know each other in Heaven, just as Christ knows us. The Bible says,
"For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." 1 Corinthians 13:12
Is the Lord Jesus Christ your Saviour? Do you know that you be long to Him? Then you do not have to fear death. For the child of God, death is but the door to Heaven where we shall live forever in the presence of our Lord.