WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday April 24, 2011
CHRIST IS RISEN
(Go and tell about the certainty of the resurrection of CHRIST JESUS)
(Matthew 28:1-1-8, Mark 16:1-8, Luke 24:1-12, & John 20:1-20)
In the biblical Greek the word used for “Resurrection” is “Anastasia”, and it is “a moral recovery of spiritual truth”. And it also means, “To stand up again”.
The sins of man brought physical death, and by contrast, the resurrection of CHRIST JESUS brought spiritual life. William Barclay once wrote, “cleverness can never be the basis of true religion, and true religion can never be the product of a man’s mind”. The resurrection of CHRIST is the essence of the Christian Faith, and is the core of all of the apostle’s teachings.
No man is capable of producing or concocting a “True Religion”, or Faith. Only GOD, the CREATOR of Heaven and Earth, is capable of meeting the qualifications necessary, and setting the examples that every man can benefit from, 100% of the time. Man, through his imperfections, will never be able to spiritually rule over another man. Christianity is the only true religion, simply because, it is the only religion that is a product of GOD’s mind.
In Matthew 28:1-8, Mark 16:1-8, Luke 24:1-12, and John 20:1-20, each author gives their respective accounts of the resurrection of our LORD and SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST. At dawn, on the morning of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene, Salome, Joanna, and Mary, the mother of James and Joseph, all went to the tomb of JESUS. They already knew where the body of JESUS had been laid, because some of them were watching from a distance when Joseph of Arimathea, who owned the tomb, and Nicodemus placed JESUS’ body within, and then sealed it by rolling a large stone over its opening (Matthew 27:55-56). The women were returning the day after the Sabbath had ended so that they might anoint JESUS’ body with perfumes for burial (Mark 16:1-2).
In the Gospel account of Matthew, he reports that there was a great earthquake associated with the arrival of an angel who came down from Heaven and rolled away the stone that covered the entrance of JESUS’ tomb. The Roman soldiers who had been assigned to guard the tomb were so frightened by the angel that they fainted. The angel, who appeared like lightning, was garbed in clothing that was as white as snow. He proceeded to issue a proclamation to the women that, “JESUS has risen, just as HE said HE would”. He even invited them to come into the tomb and examine it for themselves, and then, he instructed them to go and tell JESUS’ disciples the good news of JESUS’ Resurrection, and to later, meet HIM in Galilee.
As the women were hurrying along to tell the disciples what had happened, JESUS suddenly appeared before them. Upon hearing HIS greeting, the women recognized JESUS and immediately fell at HIS feet and begin to worship HIM. It is all together fitting that these women would be the first to see the risen LORD. For, they had been faithfully there at the cross, when JESUS hung and died, and, they had also been faithfully there when HE was laid in the rich man’s tomb. And now, they were receiving love’s reward by becoming the first people on earth to experience the joy of being in the presence of the resurrected LORD and SAVIOR.
In the biblical Greek the word used for “greetings” is “chairo” (khah-ee-ro), and it means “be cheerful”, or “be glad and rejoice”. In Matthew chapter 28, verses 6-9, we see perhaps the three great imperatives that govern the Christian Faith. First we see the women being urged by the angel to “believe”, as he invites them to see the empty tomb where JESUS’ body had once lain. Secondly, in verse 7 the women are urged to “share”, as the angel instructs them to “go quickly and tell”, in this case, the disciples, about the good news of the risen LORD. And then finally, in verse 9, we see that, the first words that JESUS says to the women is, “all hail”, or “chairo”, which means “greetings”, which means, “rejoice everybody, and be glad”.
The person who has met and accepted the “Risen LORD” will be able to live forever in the joy of HIS presence. They will be able to come to rest in the knowledge that nothing can ever again separate them from HIS saving grace. And so we should be able to see quite clearly now, how no man, can give another man, that kind of religion. It is something that only GOD is capable of doing. That is why the Christian can “believe”, “share”, and “rejoice” in the saving power of GOD. Through the birth, ministry, passion, death, and resurrection of JESUS CHRIST, GOD is saying to us, as only HE can, that HE loves us with an everlasting love that can withstand all of the suffering that this world has to offer. With GOD, it is possible for us to make “a moral recovery of a spiritual truth” found only in HIM, and when we accept that TRUTH, we become fully able “to stand up again” and live forever in the presence of the ALMIGHTY GOD.
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander
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