Jesus is King: He is Risen!

Today is the day we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! It is marked on our calendar as ‘Easter Sunday’. Before I get into the scriptures for today, I think it is important that we have a historical understanding of Easter. The word Easter is a word of Saxon origin from the word Estra, which means goddess of the spring. Easter started as a Pagan holiday, however, in the eighth century, Anglo Saxons adopted the name Easter to designate Christ’s resurrection. Paganism represents people who practiced non-Christian religions and traditions. There are some Easter traditions that many people still practice today, and those include egg hunts, candy rabbits, and Easter baskets. The rabbit is a symbol of fertility and agility, sacred to Ostra. Now don’t get me wrong, I understand children enjoy Easter egg hunts, and people enjoy giving others Easter candy as gifts this time of year. But we really need to evaluate what is at the center of our ‘Easter Sunday’? Is the Easter bunny at the center of your ‘Easter Sunday’ or is it our Lord and Savior? Also, if we really want to be true Christians do we want to recognize Paganism and say Happy Easter, or should we say Happy Resurrection Sunday or He is Risen? This is not meant to be condemnation, but we really need to put this in perspective as Christians on what we represent. As I go through this teaching, I want you to really think of what Easter means to you, and what is at the center of your Easter Sunday.

Let’s look at Matthew 28:1-4 (NKJV) which tells us, “Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb.  And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it.  His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow.  And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men.”. There is a good bit going on here in these four verses. First, it is early on Sunday morning, and there was a great earthquake, there was a fear the guards had when this heavenly sign took place, and there was an angelic appearance. I believe that the earthquake was the time when Jesus was raised from the dead, and the earthquake was a sign from heaven. There will be many signs that we will experience before the rapture and at the end of the seven-year tribulation period. Mark 13:8 (NKJV) warns us, “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famines and troubles. These are the beginnings of sorrows.”. We have seen much of what is mentioned in Mark 13 as we are nearing the second coming of Jesus. Too often people are more concerned about what they see on the news or hearing certain ‘prophetic’ messages of when the day of the rapture will be. However, we must be reminded that no man will know the hour when Jesus returns, only God does. Matthew 24:36 (NKJV) tells us, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.”.  Too often Christians can be worried about what they see on the news and what the latest prophetic word is on when the rapture will be, we need to stop focusing on that and make sure that our hearts are ready for when it does happen.

I would now like to continue in the story of the Resurrection in the Gospel of John. If we look at John 20:1-2 (NKJV) it says, “Now the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb.  Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.””.  I would like to point out in verse two that the disciple who Jesus loved was John, I discussed that in my previous teaching on Good Friday when Jesus entrusted John to be Mary’s son. John 20:3-10 (NKJV) goes on to tell us, “Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple, and were going to the tomb.  So they both ran together, and the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first.  And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in.  Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there, and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed. For as yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. Then the disciples went away again to their own homes.”.  In verse nine it tells us they did not know the scripture that Jesus must rise again. If you remember from one of my other teachings this week when I discussed the term Logos, in that teaching I also mentioned the eight I Am’s in the Gospel of John. One of those eight I Am’s is in John 11:25 (NKJV) where Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.”. Jesus told us in that scripture before His crucifixion that He is the resurrection and the life.

I would now like to move on to discuss the reaction of Mary Magdalene at the tomb. John 20:11-13 (NKJV) goes onto say, “But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. Then they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.””. Again, in this scripture, we see an angelic appearance just like we saw at the beginning of Matthew’s account. When the angels asked Mary why she was crying, she told them she was crying because the body of Jesus vanished, and she did not know where His body was. John 20:14-15 (NKJV) goes on to tell us, “Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus.  Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.””. Jesus was right here with her at the garden that was near the tomb, however, she did not recognize Jesus at first, she thought He was a gardener. When He asked her why she was crying she again expresses her concern of the body of Jesus vanishing. He also asked her who she was seeking, and she was seeking Jesus. Continuing John 20:16 (NKJV) tells us, “Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher).”. Jesus called her by name when she realized who she thought was a gardener was Jesus risen from the dead. I would like us to think back to two of the eight I Am’s I mentioned in one of my previous teachings where Jesus said He was the Good Shepherd in John 10:11, He also told us that He is the Door in John 10:9. When you look at these two I Am’s you will find out that He calls his own sheep by name, Jesus told us in John 10:3 (NKJV), “To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.”. When Mary was weeping to Jesus, He called her by name and she recognized that He was Jesus.

John 20:19-20 (NKJV) goes on to tell us when the Disciples see Jesus and says, “Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.”  When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.”. The disciples were glad to see Jesus risen from the grave. The phrase ‘peace be with you’ was a common greeting among the Jews and it is still popular in use today. We know that Jesus brings us peace, Matthew 11:28 (AMP) tells us, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavily burdened [by religious rituals that provide no peace], and I will give you rest [refreshing your souls with salvation] .”. Our religious rituals will not save us from spiritual death, only Jesus can save us from spiritual death by giving us eternal life. Continuing John 20:21-23 says, “So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”  And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.””. In these few verses, Jesus is talking about the disciples receiving the Holy Spirit which we will see take place on the Day of Pentecost in the Book of Acts. Jesus also talks about forgiveness of sins; Jesus is not giving the disciples the authority to have people go through them to be forgiven of sins but is giving them the authority to tell unbelievers that they do not have forgiveness of sins. We know that only Jesus has the authority to forgive people of their sins, and forgiveness of people’s sins is only through the blood of Jesus. One thing people of all denominations need to understand is Jesus is the one who should have the true authority over the House of God, people of the church need to look to Jesus rather than a pope or bishop. Revelation 3:7 (NKJV) confirms the authority of Jesus in the House of God, “ “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, ‘These things says He who is holy, He who is true, “He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens”.

I would next like to talk about the disciple Thomas and his encounter with Jesus after His resurrection. John 20:24-29 (NKJV) tells us, “Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.”So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” 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!””. Thomas was not there when Jesus first appeared to the disciples after His resurrection, but eight days later Jesus appeared again and when Thomas put his hands on the print of nails on Jesus’s resurrected body, he believed.  John 20:29 (NKJV) continues and tells us, “Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.””. We who are truly born again believers in Jesus Christ, may not have seen Jesus but we still believe because we know His word is true and we know the power of the Holy Spirit is working today. Hebrews 13:8 (NKJV) tells us, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”.

Lastly, I would like to discuss the Great Commission. Matthew 28:18-20 (NKJV) tells us, “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.”.  From this scripture, we know that Jesus has an authority that is far greater than Satan’s when you are under attack from the enemy pray in the name of Jesus with authority. He also told us we are to bring people to Christ, Jesus told us in Mark 16:15 (NKJV) “And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”. Jesus also told us about the importance of salvation, part of bringing people to Christ is to get them to be saved or born again.  Mark 16:16 (NKJV) tells us, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.”. Once one becomes born again, they should be encouraged to be baptized in water as an outward symbol of the old man dying and the new man through Jesus Christ coming forward, I discussed this further in one of my previous teachings on water baptism. Along with salvation and water baptism the baptism of the Holy Spirit should follow, where one received the gifts of the Holy Spirit as God gives them to us individually. In the Gospel of Mark the gift of tongues, miracles, and healing are mentioned, Mark 16:17-18 (NKJV) tells us, “And these signs will follow those who believe: In My 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.”. Therefore, we need our churches filled with the Holy Spirit today now more than ever before. The enemy is working very hard at putting people in bondage with sickness, depression, addiction, anxiety, and much more.

This was an in-depth teaching on what took place when Jesus conquered the grave. So, I must ask you what is at the center of your celebration on this Resurrection Sunday? Is it the Pagan traditions or is it Jesus Christ?  I think it is a no brainer after what I discussed in this teaching and my previous ones during Holy Week that we make Jesus Christ the center of our celebration today. Sure, it is okay to give the kids some plastic eggs with candy or have a basket of candy, but we should not let these pagan traditions blind us of the truth that is found in Jesus Christ.