Jesus Christ Is Alive! The Soldiers Are Gone Early that Sunday morning, some of Jesus' followers came to finish anointing and preserving His body. He had been hastily placed in the tomb the day He died because of the Jews' religious feast. But, now that the holiday was past, they would prepare His body more carefully. "And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great" (Mark 16:1-4). Wait a minute! The stone is rolled away? The soldiers are nowhere to be seen? What has happened? The ladies step into the tomb for a look around and see an angel: "And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted. And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him. But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you. And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid" (Mark 15:4-8). The angel told the women that Jesus had risen from the dead! In their astonishment they fled the tomb heading for Peter and the disciples, talking to no one on the way. But what happened to the soldiers? "Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and shewed unto the chief priests all the things that were done. And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers, Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept. And if this come to the governor's ears, we will persuade him, and secure you. So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day" (Matthew 28:11-15). The soldiers must have been scared silly when the stone rolled away and Jesus walked out of the tomb! They weren't sleeping, they saw it happen! But, they took the bribe and spread the lie. Jesus Is Alive! For a while, the disciples didn't know what happened. Either they did not remember His promises, or they dared not believe He actually rose from the dead. But, that evening He appeared. "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, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord" (John 20:19-20). One disciple, Thomas, wasn't there when Jesus appeared. He wasn't sure if they all weren't dreaming, or if Jesus was just a ghost. But, Jesus visited them again and demonstrated that He had bodily risen from the grave. He was not a spirit, an illusion, a dream, or a mirage. His body was alive, He rose again. "But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, 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. And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God" (John 20:24-28). Thomas touched Jesus and believed. But today, we cannot touch Jesus physically. "Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed" (John 20:29). Many others saw him, too. Most of them knew Jesus before He died and could testify that He had truly risen from the dead. "For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, 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: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time" (I Corinthians 15:3-8). Today, we must accept what Jesus did by faith. We must trust God's Word. We must trust His payment for sins. The Son of God Returns To Heaven Jesus instructed His disciples for forty days. He demonstrated conclusively that He had risen from the dead. And He taught them of the kingdom He would establish. "Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:" (Acts 1:2-3). The disciples wondered why He didn't establish the kingdom right now. They asked Him when He would do it. "And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power" (Acts 1:4-7). "When would the kingdom come?" "Why are you talking about leaving?" They must have asked these questions. Jesus told them that His kingdom was not yet. Then, He instructed them to preach about His sacrifice for sin to all the world. "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth" (Acts 1:8). He came to die for our sins. Now, the message of His payment must go forth. For us to be forgiven for our sins we have to believe in Jesus. How can people believe in Jesus if they have never heard? So, He promises that God's Spirit would empower them for their mission. And then the Son of God, Emmanuel, who came in a manger about thirty-three years before, rises up into Heaven. "And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven" (Acts 1:9-11). Jesus will return someday to set up His kingdom! The rest of the New Testament tells Christians how we ought to live and act, and what we ought to believe. The Apostle John closes the last book of the Bible with this hopeful phrase, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus" (Revelation 22:20). Today, we are waiting for His return. God's Word gives us many indicators pointing to the times in which He will return. But, it is "not for us to know" when. Jesus may return today, He may return in one hundred years. But, the question is: What will you do with Jesus? Your more pressing concern is your short lifespan. How long will you live? Only while you live can you trust Jesus as your Saviour. The Gospel Message So, how do you claim His payment for your sin? REALIZE GOD LOVES YOU. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). WE ARE ALL SINNERS. All have broken God's law. "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). SIN MUST BE PUNISHED. God is holy and must punish sin. We will burn in Hell. "The soul that sinneth it shall die" (Ezekiel 18:20). "Hell...the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched" (Mark 9:43-44). HE WAS PUNISHED FOR US. God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to live the perfect, sinless life we cannot live. He paid for our sins for us when He died on the cross in our place. "Christ who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God" (Hebrews 9:14). "Behold, the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). HE ROSE AGAIN-THE VICTOR! Jesus Christ did not stay dead. He completed the payment for our sins by rising from the dead, living forever. "Declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:" (Romans 1:4). WE MUST CLAIM HIS PAYMENT. To be rescued from your sins and Hell, you must ask God to forgive and pardon you because of Jesus' payment. "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Romans 10:13). REPENT OF YOUR SINS & LIVE! Turn from your sins. In sorrow for your sinfulness, admit to God you are a sinner who wants to change, believe that Christ paid for your sins, and ask God to forgive you and save you for Jesus' sake. You might phrase it like this, "Dear God, I am a sinner, and I'm sorry. I don't want to sin any more. Please forgive me for breaking your law. Please, save my soul because of what Jesus did for me. Thank you for dying and rising again as Jesus Christ to pay the penalty for my sins. Amen." Will you call on God for salvation through Jesus Christ today? God has given you the interest and patience to pursue fourteen of these Bible study lessons, He is working in your heart. Won't you be forgiven for your sins today? Please take the time right now. I hope you will. Everlasting Salvation Jesus promised that those who trust in Him as the payment for their sins will have eternal life. This faith in His payment is also called being born-again, or salvation from sin. If you are born-again, if you have trusted Jesus as your Saviour, you have claimed His promises of eternal life. You cannot loose your salvation. You will never go to Hell. God has saved your soul! Consider these encouraging verses: "And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand" (John 10:28). "But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life" (Romans 6:22). Also, God's spirit now lives in you. He will help you to do right, love Him, and serve Him! "And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness" (Romans 8:10). "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me" (Galatians 2:20). Will you sin after you are saved? Unfortunately, yes. You are still human, you still have the fallen sin nature. But, God's spirit living in you will help you fight sin and become more like Christ. Sin will not make you lose your salvation, but it does break your fellowship with God. So, when you give in to sin, you must allow God to break your heart and turn you from your sin. Repent of that sin, and continue living for Christ. "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:" (Psalm 66:18). "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (I John 1:9). Sin is still our enemy. Sin still traps and trips us. But now, by God's power, we can overcome!

Lesson #14 Review

1.Why was the stone rolled away from Jesusí tomb?

2.How did Jesus prove His bodily resurrection to Thomas?

3.Because we canít see Jesus, how must we accept Him?

4.Where did Jesus go forty days after His resurrection?

5.How can a person be saved from their sins?