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Lesson 11: He Is Alive! Hope Springs New (Mark 16:1-8; Matthew 27:62-28:20; Luke 24:1-35; John 20:1-31)

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Day One Study

Ask the Lord Jesus to speak to you through His Word. Tell Him that you are listening.

Read Matthew 27:62-66.

1. Discover the Facts: The religious leaders weren’t satisfied with just having Jesus crucified.

  • On Saturday, while Jesus was dead in the tomb, what did the religious leaders ask Pilate to do (vv. 62-64)?
  • What happened then (vv. 65-66)?

Focus on the Meaning: Jesus’s first “deception” from their viewpoint was His messiahship, and His “last” (second) was His claim that He would rise from the dead. The falsely pious chief priests and Pharisees pretended to want to protect the people from deception. Matthew viewed their action as self-deception designed to deceive others (“blind leading the blind”). … they were the real deceivers of the people. (Dr. Constables Notes on Matthew 2017 Edition, p. 477)

Read Mark 16:1-8.

2. Discover the Facts: Now, we get to look at the greatest miracle in human history.

  • What did the 3 women do after sunset on Saturday (v. 1)?
  • What were they not expecting to happen?
  • What was their concern as they headed to the tomb early Sunday morning (vv. 2-3)?
  • When they got there, what did they see (v. 4)?
  • As they entered the tomb, what did they see (v. 5)?
  • What did they not see?
  • What was their response?
  • What did the young man (Matthew and John identify him as an angel) tell them not to do?
  • After confirming their intent to find Jesus, what did he say to them?
  • What instruction did the angel give to the women (v. 7)?
  • According to Luke 24:6-8, what did they remember?
  • What was Jesus’s plan for meeting with His followers?
  • How did the women feel then (v. 8)?
  • What did they do even though feeling that way?

Scriptural Insight: Verses 9-20 are not original to Mark. The earliest and best manuscripts do not have them. Most scholars believe they were added later. The word choice and writing style are different from Mark’s style. We don’t have any record of Jesus giving His disciples authority to pick up snakes or drink poison. Everything else is a summary of what is found in the other gospels. So, either Mark ended his book at v. 8 or the rest of it was lost. Because of word choices in v. 8, many scholars think that Mark wrote more and did not intend to end at v. 8.

3. Heartbreak to Hope: What in today’s study speaks to your heart?

Write a prayer to God in response to what He has shown you in this lesson.

Day Two Study

Ask the Lord Jesus to speak to you through His Word. Tell Him that you are listening.

Read Matthew 28:1-10.

1. Discover the Facts: We will learn a few more details from Matthew’s account of Resurrection Sunday.

  • According to v. 2, what had just happened?

Focus on the Meaning: Only Matthew mentions the earthquakes that happened at Jesus’s death and at His resurrection. These were significant signs for the Jews. Matthew wrote his gospel primarily for those who were Jewish.

  • What was the angel’s appearance like (v. 3)?
  • How did the guards respond to this event (v. 4)?

Scriptural Insight: All of these events have supernatural connotations. An angel had announced the Incarnation, and now an angel announced the Resurrection (1:20-23; cf. 18:10). The angel rolled the stone away to admit the witnesses, not to allow Jesus to escape (cf. John 20:26). The guards experienced the earthquake and observed the angel, who appeared as a young man (Mark 16:5). It was seeing the angel—whose appearance was also “like lightning,” which evidently terrified them so greatly—that Matthew could describe them as appearing “like dead men” (vv. 3-4). Perhaps they fainted “dead away,” as in a deep sleep or coma. (Dr. Constables Notes on Matthew 2017 Edition, p. 478)

  • What is added in v. 8 to what Mark wrote about the women leaving the tomb?
  • Who met them on the way, and what did He say to them (v. 9)?
  • What did the women do?
  • What did Jesus tell them not to do (v. 10)?
  • What were they to do?
  • What new relationship does Jesus now have with the disciples?

Read Matthew 28:11-15.

2. Discover the Facts: The guards reported what had happened to the chief priests. The religious leaders had to come up with a “Plan B.”

  • What deceptive plan did the chief priests and elders make (vv. 12-15)?
  • Did it work?

3. Heartbreak to Hope: What in today’s study speaks to your heart?

Write a prayer to God in response to what He has shown you in this lesson.

Day Three Study

Ask the Lord Jesus to speak to you through His Word. Tell Him that you are listening.

Read John 20:1-18.

1. Discover the Facts: John gives more detail about Jesus’s interaction with one particular woman, Mary Magdalene (v. 1), but we know from the other gospels that at least 3 other women were with her when they went to the tomb.

  • What did Mary Magdalene tell Peter and John (v. 2)?
  • What do Peter and John do and see for themselves (vv. 3-9)?
  • What did they not understand?
  • After the disciples left, what is said about Mary Magdalene (vv. 10-11)?
  • When she saw the angels, what was her concern (vv. 12-13)?
  • When she sees Jesus but doesn’t recognize Him, what was still her concern (vv. 14-15)?
  • What does this tell you about her?
  • When she recognizes Jesus calling her name, what does she say and do (vv. 16-17)?
  • What does Jesus tell her to do (v. 17)?
  • Mary obeys. What news does she give (v. 18)?

Read John 20:19-31.

2. Discover the Facts: Jesus shows Himself to His disciples.

  • When did this occur (v. 19)?
  • Where were the disciples and why?
  • What did Jesus say and do?
  • Then what did Jesus do (v. 20)? See also Luke 24:36-43.
  • How did the disciples respond?
  • What did Jesus reconfirm to them in v. 21?
  • Whom did He temporarily give to them (v. 22)?
  • Who missed Jesus’s appearance (v. 24)?
  • What was Thomas’s response when the others told him about seeing Jesus (v. 25)?
  • What happened a week later (vv. 26-27)?
  • What is Thomas’s response now (v. 28)?
  • What is Jesus’s response to Thomas that also applies to us (v. 29)?
  • Write John 20:31 in the space below. This fits with Jesus’s words in v. 29.

3. Heartbreak to Hope: Reflecting on John 20:29 (those of us who have not seen and yet believe). What drew you to believe in Jesus? When? Where? Who?

Write a prayer to God in response to what He has shown you in this lesson.

Day Four Study

Ask the Lord Jesus to speak to you through His Word. Tell Him that you are listening.

Read Luke 24:13-35.

1. Discover the Facts: Two men get a great sermon!

  • As two men were walking the 7 miles from Jerusalem to Emmaus, what happened (vv. 13-16)?
  • What did Jesus ask them (v. 17)?
  • Who did they think Jesus was before He was crucified (v. 19)?
  • What news did they receive (vv. 22-24)?
  • How did Jesus respond to this (vv. 25-27)?
  • What happened next (vv. 28-31)?
  • What did they say to each other (v. 32)?
  • Then, what did they do (vv. 33-35)?

Read Matthew 28:16-20.

2. Discover the Facts: Jesus’s commission to all His followers.

  • Where were they now?
  • What was given to Jesus?
  • What commission does Jesus give to those under His authority?
  • What does He promise to His followers who are being commissioned?

Scriptural Insight: Jesus’s Resurrection Appearances

That Morning—The women (Mark 16:1-8; Matthew 28:1-10; John 20:1-18)

That Afternoon—Peter and the two men walking to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35)

That Evening—The disciples minus Thomas (John 20:19-25; Luke 24:36-43)

One week later—The disciples plus Thomas (John 20:26-31)

In Galilee—7 disciples (John 21); to 500 at once and His brother James (1 Corinthians 15:1-7); and gives the Great Commission to all His followers (Matthew 28:16-20)

3. Heartbreak to Hope: What in today’s study speaks to your heart?

4. Heartbreak to Hope: Reflect back on this whole lesson, seeing how people experiencing heartbreak, pain, or uncertainty found hope, healing and love. Which ones will you remember the most?

Write a prayer to God in response to what He has shown you in this study of Mark.

[For additional insight, read the following essay, “The Resurrection of Jesus—What Does It Really Mean?”]

— — — — —

The Resurrection Of Jesus—What Does It Really Mean?

Does it bother you when you watch a new movie about Jesus’s life (or, even an old one) and the movie just falls flat when it comes to the resurrection appearances of Jesus? Sometimes, they are skipped altogether. Other times they are portrayed as some kind of “voice heard only” type of thing. With all the phenomenal capability of Hollywood special effects, it seems that filmmakers could do (and would want to do) a fantastic job of portraying Jesus in His resurrected body and His real interactions with all those 500+ real people (1 Corinthians 15:3-8) who saw Him over a period of 40 days.

The Resurrection Is The Greatest Event In Human History

This culture is wild about the supernatural, sci-fi and fantasy fiction. Yet, the resurrection of Jesus is the greatest real supernatural event in human history. God raised His Son from the dead and gave Him a new physical body that would never die again. Jesus’s new body was different from His friend Lazarus (John 11:38-44) who would experience death once again.

So, why do we as a culture have difficulty believing that Jesus’s dead body was resurrected into an immortal but completely physical body that walked, talked, ate, drank, and could be touched as any human body could do? I think it is because we don’t really understand the true meaning of the resurrection and why Jesus had to rise from the dead.

Do you know why Jesus had to rise from the dead? Wasn’t the cross enough? Why is the physical bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ essential to our faith? Couldn’t it have been some spiritual thing instead?

After 2000 years of Christians celebrating this human-history-changing event at Easter, many do not know the answer to these questions—perhaps because so much of our teaching centers on the cross and our sin problem. That’s only half the story, though. Understanding the true meaning of the resurrection gives us a proper view towards being human, towards life after death, and even towards both our present and future purpose on this earth.

Several years ago, I read The Resurrection of the Son of God by N.T. Wright, an insightful book that helped me to understand what the resurrection meant to those living 2000 years ago and for us today. I first learned what the resurrection did not mean.

What The Resurrection Does Not Mean

1) The resurrection was not meant to prove life after death. Nearly everyone in the Roman world of Jesus’s day believed in some form of post-death existence—the soul living on after the body died.

2) The resurrection was not the appearance of Jesus’s spirit or ghost. Even though the gospels clearly say this, people persist in viewing the event as somehow ghostly rather than physical. The term “resurrection” in that day and time meant receiving a new physical body after a time of death, never a way of talking about a ghost or spirit. That’s why it was so offensive to the Greek-influenced mind. To them, the body was evil so why would anyone ever want a new body?

3) The resurrection does not directly prove that Jesus is God. The Jews expected the resurrection of all the righteous before the kingdom was established; that wouldn’t prove that they were God. Jesus did not become the “Son of God” at the resurrection. But, the resurrection declared that what He did in His life and in His death was the work of God’s Son (Romans 1:4).

Eliminating those ideas leads us to what the resurrection of Jesus does mean.

What The Resurrection Does Mean

1) The resurrection announced the beginning of the kingdom (Daniel 12:2-3; Isaiah 26:19; John 5:28-29). The Jews just didn’t know that it would be a two-stage process—first, the Messiah resurrected, then later everyone else.

2) The resurrection is God’s solution to man’s state of spiritual death. Human beings had two problems. The first problem—a sickness called sin, which caused the second problem—death, physical death and spiritual separation from God.

Jesus’s death on the cross was God’s solution to the sickness—sin. Jesus had to physically die because physical death was the penalty for sin (Romans 5:12; 1 Cor. 15:21-23). The resurrection declares that the debt for sin has been paid and accepted (Col 2:13-14). The sickness has a cure. What about the death problem?

God’s solution to our spiritual death is to restore life to us. That’s called regeneration. Believers receive life. We are cleansed and made new creations when God plants His Spirit within us. Jesus completely identified with us in our humanity, our sin and our death, so that we could be totally identified with Him in His resurrected humanity, His righteousness and His life.

The empty tomb and the appearances of Jesus together are powerful evidences of the fact. When the early Christians spoke of Jesus being raised from the dead, they were claiming that something happened to Jesus which had happened to no one else—ever!

Jesus’s Resurrection Body

Jesus’s resurrection body was the same in many ways as His “before death” body but different in other ways. One writer called it “transphysical,” meaning transformed physicality. Since we get a similar body, let’s look at this more closely.

What Was The Same?

  • He looked like a normal human being (not glowing), not a spotted owl or whale or alien life form.
  • He talked, walked and preached a sermon at the same time, and had memory.
  • He invited His followers to touch Him and see that He was real, referred to Himself as having flesh and blood, and used His hands to break bread. And, He cooked and ate broiled fish.
  • He could be grasped or touched (John 20:17; Matt.28:9).
  • His voice was the same. He spoke the same language. He was just as compassionate as He had been.

What Was Different?

  • Sometimes it was hard to recognize Him. Perhaps His new body was created to appear the ideal age for a man—whatever that might have been for Adam. The perfect 25-year-old! That would have changed His looks considering He died as a 30-something. The scars on His hands, side and feet were obvious means of identification.
  • Jesus could appear and disappear at will. His body passed through grave clothes, a rocky tomb, and walls where the disciples were meeting behind locked doors. It’s as though there is another dimension we don’t see that exists alongside the one we do see. That would explain several things in the Bible.
  • His body was physically robust. After all, He walked and preached a sermon for a good part of the 7 miles to Emmaus two days after He was severely beaten and crucified!

Jesus ascended to heaven in His new physical body to reign from heaven as God-man until He returns (Acts 1:9-11).

Jesus’s Resurrection And Life In The “Until” Time

Understanding the true meaning of the resurrection gives us a proper view towards life now (until He returns, or we go to heaven before then).

We Get A Proper View About Being Human.

When God made a new body for Jesus, He didn’t choose a spotted owl or a whale or some alien life form. He created another human body. That tells me something about being human. The pagan view was that the body is evil, and the soul is good. But God’s view is that the problem was not the body itself, which He had purposefully designed, but sin and death which had taken up residence in it. Being an embodied human is good. What is bad is being a rebellious, decaying human, because of sin and death.

How do you view the body God gave you? You are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14-16).

We Get A Proper View About Facing Death.

You can be confident that when you as a believer die, you go immediately to be with Jesus. And, you can enjoy all the blessings of being there. We have the hope of reunion with loved ones and receiving a new physical body with a wonderful new life to enjoy forever.

We Get A Proper View About Having A Purpose On This Earth.

God has given us new life here by design. He didn’t take us to heaven right away. We have a purpose here. We are here by God’s design to follow Jesus as His disciples and to live for Him as disciple-makers—intentionally sharing our faith with others, leading them to Christ, and helping them grow in their faith so they can reach their peers for Christ (Matthew 28:19-20). We do that through His power in us—the same power that raised Jesus from the dead.

The Resurrection Is Hope

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the greatest miracle in human history. Life-changing. Life-giving. And, this same Jesus is in His physical human body in heaven waiting for us to join Him some day. We will experience life in a new physical body that far exceeds anything we have ever known here. That’s HOPE!

Reflect and Respond

Related Topics: Gospels, Women's Articles

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