WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
APRIL 18, 2022
TOPIC: CHRIST IS RISEN! DO YOU BELIEVE IT?
BY T. O. BANSO
“And when they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe” (Mark 16:11 New King James Version).
Despite the efforts of the chief priests and Pharisees to forestall what they thought would be a stage-managed resurrection of Jesus Christ, He rose from the grave. The guards they had posted to the tomb could not stop it. There was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven. He rolled back the stone from the door of the tomb and sat on it. His appearance was fearsome. His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. Consequently, the guards shook for fear of the angel and became like dead men. They went into a coma! (Matthew 28:2-4).
Some of these guards ran to tell the chief priests what happened at the tomb. The report was embarrassing. They consulted with the elders. To save their face, they bribed the soldiers with large money to lie that the disciples of Jesus came at night and stole Him away while they slept. This is as illogical as it is ridiculous because any discerning person would ask them how they knew His disciples came to steal His body since they claimed they were sleeping.
But these religious leaders promised to appease Pilate and protect them if he heard. Pilate was unlikely to be interested in their cock and bull story since, in the first instance, he said Jesus was innocent and he reluctantly delivered Him to them to be crucified. Unfortunately, this absurd story about Jesus’ disciples coming to steal His body spread among the Jews (Matthew 28:11-15). Some people might have believed the story and said that Jesus was not raised from the dead.
Christ is risen! Do you believe it? Or do you also believe the lie that His disciples came to steal His body and claimed that He had risen? Some people believe that Jesus was too powerful to be arrested and that another person who resembled Him was arrested and crucified instead. That’s far from what the Bible says.
Yes, Jesus was (is) powerful and, ordinarily, they couldn’t have arrested Him, but He gave up Himself because that was the reason He came to the earth. He came to die on the cross for the sins of the world. He predicted His arrest, crucifixion, and resurrection (Matthew 16:21; 17:22-23; 20:18-19; Luke 9:21-22; 18:31-33; 24:7). Just as He had said, Jesus died on the cross, was buried, and came back to life on the third day.
Significantly, even His disciples were not expecting Him to be raised up from the dead! The women who went to His tomb on the third day went to anoint His dead body, not to confirm that He had risen. But they were shocked when they got there and met an empty tomb and were told He had risen (Mark 16:1-8).
One would have expected that the apostles, whom Jesus ministered to directly and prepared their minds ahead for His crucifixion and resurrection, would have no problem believing the news of His resurrection. But they didn’t. After Jesus had been raised from the dead and appeared to Mary Magdalene, she went and told those who had been with Jesus, as they mourned and wept. “And when they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe” (Mark 16:11 New King James Version). Did you see that? So if the apostles didn’t believe He had risen, who would?
Verses 12-13 say, “After that, He appeared in another form to two of them as they walked and went into the country. And they went and told it to the rest, but they did not believe them either” (New King James Version). These two people Jesus appeared might be the disciples whom He joined and talked with on their way to Emmaus but didn’t recognize Him. He, however, revealed Himself to them eventually (Luke 24:13-25). The other disciples did not believe their report that Jesus had risen and appeared to them. Yet, His apostles and other followers were supposed to tell others that He has risen as He had promised.
John 20:19-23 also records Jesus’ appearance to His apostles but Thomas, one of them, was not there and didn’t believe. He said unless he saw in His hands, the print of the nails, put his finger into the print of the nails, and put his hand into His side, he would not believe. That’s serious! Perhaps, to avoid any of the apostles contradicting the accounts of the rest, Jesus reappeared to them when Thomas was present.
Verses 26-29 say, “And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, ‘Peace to you!’ Then He said to Thomas, ‘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.’ And Thomas answered and said to Him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him, ‘Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed’” (New King James Version). That last sentence refers to you and others! Do you believe that Christ is risen?
In Mark 16:14, the Bible says that later Jesus appeared to the eleven disciples as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. He then gave them the Great Commission to go into the world and preach the Gospel (verses 15-18).
Christ is risen! Do you believe it? Also, do you believe He is the Son of God and your Saviour? Have you accepted Him as your Lord and Saviour? Are you born again? Jesus says He who believes and is baptized will be saved, but he who does not believe will be condemned (Mark 16:16). He says further that these signs will follow those who believe. In His name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover (verses 17-18)
Although the apostles of Jesus did not believe initially that He had risen from the dead, they believed when He appeared to them and proved that He was truly alive. Acts 1:3 says He showed Himself alive after He suffered, by many proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days, and speaking about the Kingdom of God. The apostles believed in His resurrection and emphasized, in their preaching, that God raised Him from the dead (Acts 2:24; 3:15; 4:10; 10:40; 13:30; Romans 10:9; 1 Corinthians 15:15; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 1 Peter 1:21). Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:14, “And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty” (New King James Version). If Christ is not risen, the faith of Christians is futile and we are still in our sins (verse 17).
Jesus is alive. God raised Him up, having freed Him from the agony of death because it was impossible for it to hold Him (Acts 2:24). He did not see corruption or decay (Acts 13:37). Halleluiah! Christ is risen! Do you believe it?
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner, and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner, and I cannot save myself. I believe Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and was raised on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Holy Spirit, thank You for helping me to believe that Jesus the Son of God was crucified and raised up from the dead on the third day. Thank You for not allowing me to believe all the lies to discredit the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I pray that all those who do not believe that Jesus died and was resurrected will come to the knowledge of the truth. Holy Spirit, grant them revelation about Jesus Christ and the work of redemption that He accomplished on the cross at Golgotha. Cause them to surrender their lives to Jesus as their Lord and Saviour.
(For over 800 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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