“On the third day He rose again”
The death of Jesus was real. Maybe someone doubted even the death of Jesus. John himself assures that he actually saw how Jesus’ side was pierced with a spear. In this way a Roman soldier made sure that Jesus really was dead. Then the gospels tell us that on the morning of resurrection the tomb was empty. The body of Jesus had been resurrected.
Death has a power that man cannot win. Many rich people have tried to buy themselves more youth, and many scientists have tried to find immortality. Every day we see many deaths on TV, but in real life even the death of a close family member may take place in an “invisible” manner in a hospital. This is the Finnish way of dealing with death; it is not spoken about. Even the word “die” is not used of a family member, but instead it is said for example quietly that “he has gone away”. In many other countries dead are buried with loud funeral processions and ceremonies.
The Bible teaches that death is originally the result of sin (Genesis 2:15-17). When Adam and Eve sinned (Genesis 3), they died a spiritual death. The relationship with God was broken and as a result their spiritual life died. Also bodily death started to do work in them. They became mortal. The third death that the Bible speaks about is eternal death. This is the perishing or damnation that is also called hell. Hell is eternally continuing death for those who have sinned against the almighty God (Matthew 25:41 and 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10). Jesus came to gain victory over the whole of death. Jesus has gained victory over the power of death, sin and devil. After this, death can no longer claim the believer. Sin will no longer destroy one who believes in Jesus. Demons cannot have power over someone who belongs to Jesus. Death is a kingdom into which Jesus steps and whose ruler he overthrows. He breaks the power of death and makes death a way into eternal life. After Good Friday “on the third day” there comes the Sunday morning and the celebration of the resurrection, Easter. This is the greatest feast in Christianity. On Easter morning you may greet your friends by saying “Christ has risen”, to which one replies “He is risen indeed”. Every Sunday is a reminder of resurrection. Every Sunday is the Lord’s day.
The first witnesses of resurrection were women (Matthew 28:1-10).
Like in many cultures today, the testimony of a woman wasn’t worth very much at that time in Israel. If someone had “invented” the resurrection of Jesus, the person would have certainly put in his story some important man to play the role of a witness to this event. But resurrection is not an invented story – it actually happened. Later a large group of disciples was able to witness with their own eyes that Jesus really has risen from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:4-8). The Bible testifies to us, that when we will be resurrected on the last day, also our body will rise in the same real manner as Jesus rose (Philippians 3:21 and Daniel 12:2). Because the tomb of Jesus was empty, also your tomb will be empty one day. God calls every human being to become again a complete creation for his eternal destiny (2 Corinthians 5:10). How is this possible? For the Creator God it is possible.