Bridge to Life's Greatest Hope
Christ's tomb was thus given maximum security.
Item one: A massive stone was rolled in front of the grave. Next, the stone was sealed with the signet of Tiberius Caesar, Emperor of the mighty Roman Empire. To break this seal meant certain death—by crucifixion. Nobody would dare do it. Finally, sixteen superbly trained Roman soldiers were stationed about the tomb to guard it with their lives.
In spite of all this, on the third day the seal was broken, the stone was rolled aside, and Christ's body gone. The tomb was empty apart from Christ's undisturbed grave clothes! Even the soldiers were terrified when they saw what had happened. Some fled. Others rushed to the high priest begging for him to spare their life.
Immediately the high priest made a deal with the soldiers: "We'll give you money if you will say that his disciples came by night and stole his body while you slept. When the governor hears about this, we'll persuade him and secure you."
Could you imagine even one of these highly trained soldiers going to sleep on his post and thereby risking his life, let alone all sixteen going to sleep at once? Could you see Christ's disciples (who all scattered in terror when Christ was taken captive) risking their lives to steal the body of Christ from under the nose of the world's greatest soldiers? Or could you understand any group removing the massive grave stone without waking just one of sixteen "sleeping" soldiers?
Item two: The grave-clothes. According to the Gospel record, Joseph of Arimathea obtained permission from Pilate to prepare the body of Jesus for burial. Using narrow strips of linen treated with a paste-like mixture of aloes and myrrh (which would set into a hard shellac-like encasement with 24 hours), Joseph bound the body of Jesus making it like a mummy. An ornate death cloth was used to cover the face. Then Jesus was entombed.
After his resurrection these
cowardly men were transformed
into courageous spokesmen.
Three days later when Mary Magdalene came to visit the tomb, the stone was rolled aside and Jesus was gone. She ran and told Peter and John who found only the empty grave-clothes still in the shape of Christ's body with the head cloth neatly rolled up. Nothing short of a miracle would have allowed anybody to escape those grave-wrappings without them first being cut and loosened.
Many others came to see the empty tomb. Soon Christ appeared in person to his disciples and friends and later to 500 followers at one time. Many were convinced that Jesus had come back to life and became believers in him.
Item three: The remarkable turnabout of the disciples. When Christ was arrested his disciples fled in terror. But after his resurrection these cowardly men were transformed into courageous spokesmen. They were so convinced they spent the rest of their lives proclaiming throughout the entire Roman Empire that Jesus had risen from the dead and was the Savior of the world. Most died a martyr's death as a result.
The crucial issue is that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died for a purpose. God so loved the world he gave Jesus, his only Son, to die on the cross to pay the penalty for every sin ever committed. By dying, Christ destroyed sin's power over mankind. By rising from the dead he totally defeated death and now offers the gift of eternal life to all who put their trust in him.
God's Word says, "If you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."1 That is, saved from the penalty of sin and receive eternal life.
You can know with certainty that you have God's gift of eternal life by praying and thanking Christ for dying for your sins, by believing he rose from the dead, and by responding to his invitation to accept him into your heart as Lord and Savior. This gift is of inestimable value and is yours for the taking. It is truly life's greatest hope. For assistance to do this click on the "God's Invitation" or to "Find Peace With God" button link below. Or for further help click on the "Know God" button link below.
1. Romans 10:9.
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