While Jesus was on this earth, He told people on numerous occasions that He would be killed but would rise again three days later. When He was asked for a sign by the religious leaders, He said that the sign He would give was the “sign of Jonah” (Matthew 12:39-40; Matthew 16:4; Luke 29-30). He was telling them that as Jonah was in the belly of the “fish” 3 days, He would be in the grave 3 days, and then would rise from the dead. Of course, they did not believe Him. These were the ones who supposedly had studied the Old Testament scrolls, and should have known Jesus fit everything ever prophesied about the Messiah. (Any emphasis is mine.)
Their main issue was that they expected the Messiah to come to earth with full pomp and circumstance, take a place of honor in the Temple, and they expected to be given many accolades for their “service” in the Temple. They expected to be greatly rewarded for their “religious ways.” Had they really studied the scrolls of Daniel (9:26), they should have known the proper time had arrived for the “Anointed One” to be there. They should’ve been actively looking for Him.
If they had studied Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12, they would have realized the Messiah’s arrival was due, in order for God’s need for a perfect sacrifice to be fulfilled. The Messiah would not have had a “stately form or majesty that might catch our attention.” Isaiah 7:14 told of a virgin that would give birth, and this was understood to be the arrival of the prophesied Messiah. They had heard of His birth details, but refused to believe He was the One. All during His ministry, Jesus had the most problems with the religious leaders.
In Matthew 27:62-64, the Pharisees went to Pilate after Jesus had been placed in the tomb, and asked that the grave site be sealed and guarded. They remembered He had said that He would rise up after 3 days, and wanted to make sure no one “took” Him from the tomb and then would try to make a false claim about His resurrection. They also believed if the tomb could be sealed and guarded, He would not be able to exit it. They refused to believe they were dealing with God Himself.
When the guards reported to the chief priests that He was no longer in the tomb (Matthew 28:11-15), a plot was made to tell Pilate and all the people that His body was stolen while the guards were asleep. Only problem with that is, sleeping on duty was an offense that was punishable by death; however, the priests said they would make sure the guards were not punished. What they could not overcome were all the eyewitness reports of people who had seen Jesus after He rose from the dead, and before His ascension.
In the New Testament alone, there are over 33 verses proclaiming He would rise, or had risen from the grave. Jesus spoke of His death, including the method, in more than 27 verses. His prophecies about our current time, plus all the ones that would take place all the way to His second coming were straightforward and of a nature of true authority.
Today, we can look and see that all He said would take place up to right now on earth has been fulfilled completely. His description of what our times would be like just before the end are daily news items today. All that needs to be done to set the tribulation period of 7 years in motion is the Rapture, as described by Paul; the Ezekiel 38/39 War; followed by the signing of the peace treaty between Israel and the world. Speaking of Paul, he gives a description of our last days in 2 Timothy 3.
A song written by a young man named Dallas Holm speaks of what Jesus was possibly thinking as He was being crucified. (I can say young as I’m 2 years older than him. My wife and I reside in the same East Texas Area where Dallas is, and he has a great ministry here.)
The song, “I’ll Rise Again,” was written by Dallas and released on an album in 1977. It won the 1977 Dove Award for song of the year. Listening to the lyrics puts one at the site of the crucifixion of Jesus; and though He physically suffered tremendous pain, He was totally in control. No one forced Jesus to give His life, as He willingly sacrificed Himself for us – for Me! (John 10:18). Let that last sentence sink in just a bit while reading the lyrics to the song.
“Go ahead, drive the nails in My hands; Laugh at Me where you stand. Go ahead, and say it isn’t Me; the day will come, when you will see.
(chorus) Cause, I’ll rise again! Ain’t no power on earth can tie Me down! Yes, I’ll rise again – Death can’t keep Me in the ground.
Go ahead and mock My name; My love for you is still the same. Go ahead and bury Me; but very soon I will be free!
Go ahead and say I’m dead and gone; but you will see that you were wrong. Go ahead, try to hide the Son; but all will see that I’m the One!
(final chorus) Cause, I’ll Come Again; Ain’t no power on earth can keep Me back. Yes, I’ll Come Again, come to take My people back!”
(That would be the Rapture, which all believers are anxiously awaiting!)
Joseph of Arimathea went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus (Luke 23:52). He and Nicodemus prepared His body with aromatic spices, wrapped it in strips of linen cloth and placed Him in a new tomb (John 19:38-42). Both of these men were part of the Sanhedrin, but had accepted Jesus as their Messiah. I believe we will see them again when we get Home. Nicodemus was the one who met with Jesus in the night in John 3.
All who saw Jesus die, and all who were told of His death, did not expect to see Him alive again. It’s amazing that Jesus first appeared to a woman (Mary Magdalene), as women were considered second-class citizens. To our God, we are all equal in His sight. Next, He appeared to disciples on the road to Emmaus, and He told them all about the “Christ” and things written about Him in all the scriptures. They didn’t recognize Him until He “broke bread” with them. Then He vanished from them (Luke 24:13-35).
There are numerous other accounts of Jesus appearing to people after the resurrection, and all the way to His ascension (Acts 1:9-11). Angels appeared to those who were there, and told them this same Jesus would return just as they had seen Him depart.
What does all this mean for us? First, we can believe the Bible is a work of truth, as there’s more evidence that Jesus really lived on this earth than there is about Julius Caesar. His grave is empty, whereas the ones for Mohammad, all the gods of Hinduism, and all other persons in the past are still occupied. Jesus only needed His for a weekend. Those who were raised from the dead by Jesus and others that are spoken of in the Bible had to die again. Their resurrection was only temporary.
The day is coming, and we can be assured of this, that a trumpet/shofar will sound. There will be a shout from an Arch Angel, and the “dead in Christ” will rise up first from their graves, no matter where those graves are and what is left of their bodies. Then, those of us who are still alive will be “caught up” to meet Jesus in the air (Raptured). This is found in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 1 Corinthians 15:51-53. All who are caught up will receive new “forever” bodies, and we will be with our Savior forever. This Rapture will take place in less than one second, and I believe only those being taken will hear and experience this event. All non-believers will only know people have disappeared.
Those who do not accept Jesus will enter a time of tribulation such as this world has never seen. Anyone who accepts Jesus as their Savior during this period will be saved, but most will be martyred for doing so.
It would be so much better to have accepted Jesus and be Raptured when He calls. All who call on the name of the Lord will be saved (Acts 2:21 and Romans 10:13). It is necessary to believe in Him and have faith that He died for our sins. We need to confess we have sinned, as all have done so (Romans 3:23), and He is faithful and just to forgive us (1 John 1:8-10). He was raised from the dead to conquer sin and death for us (Romans 10:9-13). There is no other name we can call on and be saved (Acts 4:12).
Our time on this earth is getting shorter, and to delay calling on Him could have serious consequences. This is not meant to be a “scare tactic,” but an attempt to have those who have not accepted Jesus to give it some serious thought right now.
Revelation 20:11-15 gives the details of the final outcome for all who do not accept Jesus as their Savior. There will be “good” people in that line who didn’t think it was necessary to have Jesus in their lives.
My life verse is John 14:6, “Jesus said I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except by me.” I have accepted My Jesus, and would be thrilled to share Him with anyone.
The Father assures us that if we accept His Son, we will have an eternal home with Him. I would love to see everyone that reads this to be there too. There is no one who has “sinned beyond forgiveness.” The only one we cannot be forgiven for is to leave this earth without having accepted Jesus (1 John 5:10-12).