So He rose from the dead, and I want you to understand that He wasn't the only one who rose. Have a look back in
Matthew 27:51 - This is straight after Jesus died on the cross. “The veil of the temple was torn from top to bottom; the
earth quaked, the rocks were split, the graves were opened”.
Notice this: when Jesus died on the cross, the graves broke open. Now for a Jew to have the grave break open, it's
very serious. They had to go and guard the grave. They couldn't do anything about it - it was the Sabbath. They had
to sit there, and wait, and guard these places; so they would have been waiting outside those graves.
Now this is what happened - it says: “many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of
the graves after His resurrection. They went into the holy city and appeared to many”. So Jesus was the first to rise
from the dead; and notice it says: many - not all. Many were raised from the dead after Jesus' resurrection; and not
only that, the y went into the holy city, and they appeared to many.
So who were some of those people? Well, probably Joseph; was because Joseph knew this was going to happen,
and that's why he commanded His bones to be taken from Egypt and buried there near Jerusalem. Probably
Abraham knew, because that's why he bought a cave; and his descendants were all buried in the cave with him.
They wanted to be near what they knew would happen one day - Jesus Christ the Messiah would come, He'd come
into the earth, die on the cross and rise gloriously from the dead! And at that time, they also would rise with Him -
they had a great hope that stretched for centuries.
They looked and saw Jesus day. Jesus said: “Abraham saw my day and rejoiced”. Abraham saw the day of the
messiah, saw His resurrection from the dead. He got it by revelation, and it become a great hope. The only thing he
purchased in his life, that I'm aware of, was a cave - to be buried near where this was going to happen. His hope was
of the resurrection.
So the Bible tells us many - not all - at that time, rose from the dead. They had a resurrection body. They could walk
in and out of rooms; walk in and out of heavenly realm; just walk in and out - they were immortal. Just imagine that.
What would you do, be part of that? Imagine if that was to h appen today - what wouldn't you give to be part of that? If
some were resurrected, and others weren't - what wouldn't you give, to be part of that? Think about that. You'll see
that that's the great hope that we have. It's a great hope. That's what motivates us to move forward with God and to
grow – it’s very, very important.
So belief in the Resurrection is totally foundational to the Christian faith. Because of this, it tells us in 1 Corinthians
15:13-16 - If Jesus Christ did not rise from the dead, then: 1) your sins can't have been forgiven; 2) it's a waste of
time believing in Him, because He's dead like everyone else.
So Jesus Christ, being raised from the dead - God proved this was the Son of God. You see, the political leaders, the
religious leaders came together saying that He's not the Son of God. They put Him to death; and God raised Him up,
and proved He's the Son of God by resurrection. 1 Corinthians 15:19 tells us: “and so if there's no resurrection, the
Christian faith has no hope for anyone” - but there is a resurrection. Jesus Christ rose from the dead. He will come
again, and there is a great hope.
In Romans 10:9-10 tells us “If you believe in your heart, and confess with your mouth, if you believe God raised Jesus
from the dead, you will be saved.” Foundational to becoming a Christian is belief in the dead and resurrection of
Jesus Christ - the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Many other religions have founders. All of them are dead; none rose again from the dead. There's only Jes us Christ,
only in Christianity has our founder died on our behalf, and then rose from the dead, seen by hundreds, and will one
day come again. You and I need to recognise this is unique to the Christian faith.
The Bible tells us: all will experience resurrection. In Hebrews 9:27, we ask the question: what happens when people
die? It's very, very simple, I can't develop it - I'd like to, but just in brief. In Hebrews 9:27 – “It's appointed under man
once to die, and after that judgement”. The judgement - final judgement comes, after the resurrection.
“But its appointed a man once to die”. You don't get a second round; so if you think you're coming back again well,
you're not coming back again - once to die. Every person has an appointment with death. None of us can shake it -