The Resurrection of Christ
THE disciples rested on the Sabbath,
sorrowing for the death of their Lord, while Jesus, the King of glory, lay in the tomb. As
night drew on, soldiers were stationed to guard the Saviour's resting place, while angels,
unseen, hovered above the sacred spot. The night wore slowly away, and while it was yet
dark the watching angels knew that the time for the release of God's dear Son, their loved
Commander, had nearly come. As they were waiting with the deepest emotion the hour of His
triumph, a mighty angel came flying swiftly from heaven. His face was like the lightning,
and his garments white as snow. His light dispersed the darkness from his track and caused
the evil angels, who had triumphantly claimed the body of Jesus, to flee in terror from
his brightness and glory. One of the angelic host who had witnessed the scene of Christ's
humiliation, and was watching His resting place, joined the angel from heaven, and
together they came down to the sepulcher. The earth trembled and shook as they approached,
and there was a great earthquake.
Terror seized the Roman
guard. Where was now their power to keep the body of Jesus? They did not think of their
duty or of the disciples' stealing Him away. As the light of the angels shone around,
brighter than the sun, that Roman guard fell as dead
men to the ground. One of the angels
laid hold of the great stone and rolled it away from the door of the sepulcher and seated
himself upon it. The other entered the tomb and unbound the napkin from the head of Jesus.
Father Calls Thee"
Then the angel from heaven,
with a voice that caused the earth to quake, cried out, "Thou Son of God, Thy Father
calls Thee! Come forth." Death could hold dominion over Him no longer. Jesus arose
from the dead, a triumphant conqueror. In solemn awe the angelic host gazed upon the
scene. And as Jesus came forth from the sepulcher, those shining angels prostrated
themselves to the earth in worship and hailed Him with songs of victory and triumph.
Satan's angels had been
compelled to flee before the bright, penetrating light of the heavenly angels, and they
bitterly complained to their king that their prey had been violently taken from them, and
that He whom they so much hated had risen from the dead. Satan and his hosts had exulted
that their power over fallen man had caused the Lord of life to be laid in the grave, but
short was their hellish triumph. For as Jesus walked forth from His prison house a
majestic conqueror, Satan knew that after a season he must die, and his kingdom pass unto
Him whose right it was. He lamented and raged that, notwithstanding all his efforts, Jesus
had not been overcome but had opened a way of salvation for man, and whosoever would might
walk in it and be saved.
The evil angels and their
commander met in council to consider how they could still work against the government of
God. Satan bade his servants go to the chief priests and elders. Said he, "We
in deceiving them, blinding their eyes and hardening their hearts against Jesus.
We made them believe that He was an imposter. That Roman guard will carry the hateful news
that Christ has risen. We led the priests and elders on to hate Jesus and to murder Him.
Now hold it before them that if it becomes known that Jesus is risen, they will be stoned
by the people for putting to death an innocent man."
Report of the Roman Guard
As the host of heavenly
angels departed from the sepulcher and the light and glory passed away, the Roman guard
ventured to raise their heads and look about them. They were filled with amazement as they
saw that the great stone had been rolled from the door of the sepulcher and that the body
of Jesus was gone. They hastened to the city to make known to the priests and elders what
they had seen. As those murderers listened to the marvelous report, paleness sat upon
every face. Horror seized them at the thought of what they had done. If the report was
correct, they were lost. For a time they sat in silence, looking upon one another's faces,
not knowing what to do or what to say. To accept the report would be to condemn
themselves. They went aside to consult as to what should be done. They reasoned that if
the report brought by the guard should be circulated among the people, those who put
Christ to death would be slain as His murderers.
It was decided to hire the
soldiers to keep the matter secret. The priests and elders offered them a large sum of
money, saying, "Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole Him away while we
slept." Matt. 28: 13. And when the guard inquired what would be done with them for
sleeping at their post,
the Jewish officers promised to persuade the governor and secure
their safety. For the sake of money the Roman guard sold their honor and agreed to follow
the counsel of the priests and elders.
First Fruits of Redemption
When Jesus, as He hung upon
the cross, cried out, "It is finished," the rocks rent, the earth shook, and
some of the graves were opened. When He arose a victor over death and the grave, while the
earth was reeling and the glory of heaven shone around the sacred spot, many of the
righteous dead, obedient to His call, came forth as witnesses that He had risen. Those
favored, risen saints came forth glorified. They were chosen and holy ones of every age,
from creation down even to the days of Christ. Thus while the Jewish leaders were seeking
to conceal the fact of Christ's resurrection, God chose to bring up a company from their
graves to testify that Jesus had risen, and to declare His glory.
Those risen ones differed in
stature and form, some being more noble in appearance than others. I was informed that the
inhabitants of earth had been degenerating, losing their strength and comeliness. Satan
has the power of disease and death, and with every age the effects of the curse have been
more visible, and the power of Satan more plainly seen. Those who lived in the days of
Noah and Abraham resembled the angels in form, comeliness, and strength. But every
succeeding generation have been growing weaker and more subject to disease, and their life
has been of shorter duration. Satan has been learning how to annoy and enfeeble the race.
Those who came forth after
the resurrection of Jesus appeared to many, telling them that the sacrifice
for man was
completed, that Jesus, whom the Jews crucified, had risen from the dead; and in proof of
their words they declared, "We be risen with Him." They bore testimony that it
was by His mighty power that they had been called forth from their graves. Notwithstanding
the lying reports circulated, the resurrection of Christ could not be concealed by Satan,
his angels, or the chief priests; for this holy company, brought forth from their graves,
spread the wonderful, joyful news; also Jesus showed Himself to His sorrowing, heartbroken
disciples, dispelling their fears and causing them joy and gladness.
Women at the Sepulcher
Early in the morning of the
first day of the week, before it was yet light, holy women came to the sepulcher, bringing
sweet spices to anoint the body of Jesus. They found that the heavy stone had been rolled
away from the door of the sepulcher, and the body of Jesus was not there. Their hearts
sank within them, and they feared that their enemies had taken away the body. Suddenly
they beheld two angels in white apparel, their faces bright and shining. These heavenly
beings understood the errand of the women and immediately told them that Jesus was not
there; He had risen, but they could behold the place where He had lain. They bade them go
and tell His disciples that He would go before them into Galilee. With fear and great joy
the women hurried back to the sorrowing disciples and told them the things which they had
seen and heard.
The disciples could not
believe that Christ had risen, but, with the women who had brought the report, ran hastily
to the sepulcher. They found that Jesus was not there; they saw His linen clothes, but
not believe the good news that He had risen from the dead. They returned home,
marveling at what they had seen, also at the report brought them by the women.
But Mary chose to linger
around the sepulcher, thinking of what she had seen and distressed with the thought that
she might have been deceived. She felt that new trials awaited her. Her grief was renewed,
and she broke forth in bitter weeping. She stooped down to look again into the sepulcher,
and beheld two angels clothed in white. One was sitting where the head of Jesus had lain,
the other where His feet had been. They spoke to her tenderly and asked her why she wept.
She replied, "They have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid
Him." John 20:13.
As she turned from the
sepulcher she saw Jesus standing near, but knew Him not. He spoke to her tenderly,
inquiring the cause of her sorrow and asking whom she was seeking. Supposing that He was
the gardener, she begged Him, if He had borne away her Lord, to tell her where He had laid
Him, that she might take Him away. Jesus spoke to her with his own heavenly voice, saying,
"Mary!" She was acquainted with the tones of that dear voice, and quickly
answered, "Master!" and in her joy was about to embrace Him; but Jesus said,
"Touch Me not; for I am not yet ascended to My Father: but go to My brethren, and say
unto them, I ascend unto My Father, and your Father; and to My God, and your God."
John 20:17. Joyfully she hastened to the disciples with the good news. Jesus quickly
ascended to His Father to hear from His lips that He accepted the sacrifice, and to
receive all power in heaven and on earth.
Angels like a cloud
surrounded the Son of God and bade the everlasting gates be lifted up, that the King of
glory might come in. I saw that while Jesus was with that bright heavenly host, in the
presence of God, and surrounded by His glory, He did not forget His disciples upon the
earth, but received power from His Father, that He might return and impart power to them.
The same day He returned and showed Himself to His disciples. He suffered them then to
touch Him, for He had ascended to His Father and had received power.
At this time Thomas was not
present. He would not humbly receive the report of the disciples, but firmly and
self-confidently affirmed that he would not believe unless he should put his fingers in
the prints of the nails and his hand in the side where the cruel spear was thrust. In this
he showed a lack of confidence in his brethren. If all should require the same evidence,
none would now receive Jesus and believe in His resurrection. But it was the will of God
that the report of the disciples should be received by those who could not themselves see
and hear the risen Saviour.
God was not pleased with the
unbelief of Thomas. When Jesus again met with His disciples, Thomas was with them; and
when he beheld Jesus, he believed. But he had declared that he would not be satisfied
without the evidence of feeling added to sight, and Jesus gave him the evidence which he
had desired. Thomas cried out, "My Lord and my God!" But Jesus reproved him for
his unbelief, saying, "Thomas, because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed: blessed
are they that have not seen, and yet have believed." John 20:28, 29.
Discomfiture of Christ's Slayer
As the news spread from city
to city and from town to town, the Jews in their turn feared for their lives and concealed
the hatred which they cherished toward the disciples. Their only hope was to spread their
lying report. And those who wished this lie to be true accepted it. Pilate trembled as he
heard that Christ had risen. He could not doubt the testimony given, and from that hour
peace left him forever. For the sake of worldly honor, for fear of losing his authority
and his life, he had delivered Jesus to die. He was now fully convinced that it was not
merely an innocent man of whose blood he was guilty, but the Son of God. Miserable to its
close was the life of Pilate. Despair and anguish crushed every hopeful, joyful feeling.
He refused to be comforted and died a most miserable death.
Days With the Disciples
Jesus remained with His
disciples forty days, causing them joy and gladness of heart as He opened to them more
fully the realities of the kingdom of God. He commissioned them to bear testimony to the
things which they had seen and heard concerning His sufferings, death, and resurrection,
that He had made a sacrifice for sin, and that all who would might come unto Him and find
life. With faithful tenderness He told them that they would be persecuted and distressed,
but they would find relief in recalling their experience and remembering the words which
He had spoken to them. He told them that He had overcome the temptations of Satan and
obtained the victory
through trials and suffering. Satan could have no more power over
Him, but would bring his temptations to bear more directly upon them and upon all who
should believe in His name. But they could overcome as He had overcome. Jesus endowed His
disciples with power to work miracles, and told them that although they should be
persecuted by wicked men, He would from time to time send His angels to deliver them;
their lives could not be taken until their mission should be accomplished; then they might
be required to seal with their blood the testimonies which they had borne.
His anxious followers gladly
listened to His teachings, eagerly feasting upon every word which fell from His holy lips.
Now they certainly knew that He was the Saviour of the world. His words sank deep into
their hearts, and they sorrowed that they must soon be parted from their heavenly Teacher
and no longer hear comforting, gracious words from His lips. But again their hearts were
warmed with love and exceeding joy, as Jesus told them that He would go and prepare
mansions for them and come again and receive them, that they might be ever with Him. He
promised also to send the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, to guide them into all truth.
"And He lifted up His hands, and blessed them." Luke 24:50.
Copyright © 1974
The Ellen G. White Estate, Inc.
All Rights Reserved