Ms 94, 1897

1897

Ms 94, 1897

“The Lord is Risen Indeed”

NP

September 29, 1897

Portions of this manuscript are published in 5BC 1114; OHC 315.

The Jewish rulers had carried out their purpose of putting the Son of God to death; but they did not feel the sense of victory that they thought they would after silencing the voice of the great Teacher. Even in the hour of their apparent triumph, they were harassed with doubt as to what would next take place. They were not at rest. They had heard the cry, “It is finished.” “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.” [John 19:30; Luke 23:46.] They had seen the rocks rent and had felt the mighty earthquake, and they were restless and uneasy. The words spoken by Jesus when He was under their cruel power recurred to their mind. Ms94-1897.1

Priests and rulers dreaded a dead Christ more, a great deal more, than a living Christ. They had a deep conviction that their revenge against Jesus for exposing their hypocrisy could not bring rest to their souls. Not on any account would they have had His body hang on the cross during the Sabbath. Already the agitation caused by His death was giving publicity to His life and mission. Ms94-1897.2

When the people heard that the mighty Healer was dead, and that the sick and suffering had no one to relieve their distress, they applied to the priests and rulers for sympathy and relief. But they were sent away empty. Apparently they were determined to have the living Christ among them again; and soldiers were stationed at the gates of the city, to keep back the multitude that came with their sick and dying, demanding entrance. Ms94-1897.3

The world without a Christ made an impression that a living Christ could not have made. People came from far and near to hear of the man of whom the priests and rulers had declared, “The world is gone after him.” [John 12:19.] The recital of the deeds done by the priests shocked the people. They would not have allowed Christ to be thus treated, for had He not shown compassion to their sick. Never had He turned one away with the harsh denunciations used by the Pharisees. Ms94-1897.4

Christ had said to His disciples, “Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes; and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him unto the Gentiles to mock and to scourge, and to crucify him; and the third day he shall rise again.” [Matthew 20:18, 19.] Overwhelmed with sorrow, the disciples did not see the hope and comfort in these words. They were repeated to the priests by Judas, and when they heard them they mocked and ridiculed. They spoke of Christ as a deceiver—a name that might appropriately have been applied to themselves. Now, when they heard the clamor for the mighty Healer, who cured the sick and raised Lazarus from the dead, they thought of His words, and remembered that in part they had been fulfilled. They remembered that He had said He would rise the third day; and they were horrified at the thought. Would He rise from the dead, and as judge arraign His accusers before His bar? Ms94-1897.5

Death and the grave must hold Him whom they had crucified. “Command,” they said to Pilate, “that the sepulcher be made sure unto the third day, lest his disciples come by night and steal him away, and say to the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first. Pilate said to them, Ye have a watch; go your way, and make it as secure as ye can.” [Matthew 27:64, 65.] Ms94-1897.6

The priests gave directions to have a stone rolled before the opening of the tomb. Round this they placed cords, sealing them with the seal of the high priest. Soldiers were then stationed round the sepulcher, to prevent it being tampered with. The priests did all they could to keep Christ’s body where they had laid it. He was sealed as securely in His narrow tomb as though He were to stay there through all time. Ms94-1897.7

So weak men counselled and planned to secure the body so hated by the Jewish dignitaries and so precious to the disciples. It was not Christ’s friends, nor His disciples, that made these precautions; but the men that hated Him for His purity and integrity. Little did the murderers realize the uselessness of the efforts they were making to keep Christ in the tomb. Ms94-1897.8

By their actions God was glorified. The very efforts made to prevent Christ’s resurrection are the most convincing arguments of the truth of His resurrection. The greater the number of soldiers placed round the tomb, the stronger would be the testimony borne in regard to the resurrection. He who died for the sins of the world was to remain in the tomb the allotted time. He was in that stony prison house as a prisoner of divine justice. He was responsible to the Judge of the universe. He was bearing the sins of the world, and His Father only could release Him. A strong guard of mighty angels kept watch over the tomb, and had a hand been raised to remove the body, the flashing forth of their glory would have laid him who ventured powerless on the earth. Ms94-1897.9

There was only one entrance to the tomb, and neither human force nor fraud could tamper with the stone that guarded the entrance. Here Jesus rested during the Sabbath. But prophecy had pointed out that on the third day Christ would rise from the dead. Christ Himself had assured His disciples of this. “Destroy this temple,” He said, “and in three days I will raise it up.” [John 2:19.] Christ never committed sin, neither was guile found in His mouth. His body was to come forth from the tomb untarnished by corruption. Ms94-1897.10

A mighty angel descended from heaven, parting the darkness from his track, and resting before the Saviour’s tomb. His countenance was like lightning, “his raiment white as snow; and for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.” [Matthew 28:3, 4.] Brave soldiers, that had never been afraid of human power, were now as captives taken without sword or spear. The face they looked upon was not the face of mortal warrior; it was the face of the Captain of the Lord’s host. This messenger was sent to relieve the Son of God from the debt for which He had become responsible, and for which He had made a full atonement. Christ died under the imputation of sin, but He was raised again for our justification, and every charge against Him was cancelled. Ms94-1897.11

The heavenly visitant now before the tomb was the one that had proclaimed Christ’s birth on the plains of Bethlehem. The earth trembled at his approach, and as he rolled away the stone, heaven seemed to come down to earth. The soldiers saw him removing the stone as he would a pebble, and heard him call, Son of God, Thy Father saith, Come forth. They saw Jesus come forth from the grave as a mighty conqueror, and heard Him proclaim over the rent sepulcher, “I am the resurrection and the life.” [John 11:25.] The angel guards bowed low in adoration before their Redeemer as He came forth in majesty and glory, and welcomed Him with songs of praise. Ms94-1897.12

As Christ rose, proclaiming in triumph, “I am the resurrection and the life,” He brought from the dead as types and pledges of the general resurrection saints that had been co-laborers with God. These bowed at the Saviour’s feet in homage, and then went into the city, revealing themselves to many, and declaring that Christ had risen from the dead, and they had risen with him. Thus was immortalized the sacred truth of the resurrection. The risen saints bore witness to the truth of the words, “Thy dead men shall live; together with my dead body shall they arise.” Their resurrection was an illustration of the fulfillment of the prophecy, “Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust; for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.” [Isaiah 26:19.] Ms94-1897.13

Christ came from the tomb glorified. The eyes of the Roman guard were riveted on the face of Him whom they had so recently mocked and derided. Can this glorified being be the prisoner they saw in the judgment hall, the one for whom they plaited a crown of thorns? This is the one that stood before Pilate and Herod, His form lacerated by the cruel scourge, This is He who has clothed in an old purple robe, and crowned with thorns, who was nailed to the cross, at whom the priests and rulers, full of self-satisfaction and hatred, wagged their heads, and said, “He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now down from the cross, and we will believe him.” [Matthew 27:42.] This is He who was laid in Joseph’s new tomb. The decree of heaven had loosed the captive. Mountains piled upon mountains over His sepulcher could not have prevented Him coming forth. Ms94-1897.14

Why are the soldiers so helpless, yet seeing all? Why do they not feel the inspiration of satanic agencies? The armies of Satan fled away. When the soldiers rose from their prostrate position, they fled into the city. To every one they met, they told their wonderful story, as distinctly and positively as possible. They walked as drunken men, for they were greatly afraid at what they had witnessed. Ms94-1897.15

Going to the priests, the soldiers related the circumstances of Christ’s resurrection to them. With painful utterance they said, It was the Son of God that was crucified; for we have heard an angel proclaiming Him as the Majesty of heaven, the King of glory. Ms94-1897.16

The faces of the priests were as those of the dead. They had been loud in crying, “Crucify him, crucify him,” and they had said, “His blood be on us, and on our children.” [John 19:6; Matthew 27:25.] Could they permit a testimony that Christ had risen from the dead to go forth? If this were allowed, the assertion made during His trial, that He was the Son of God, would be believed. Caiaphas tried to speak. His lips moved, but he uttered no sound. The soldiers were about to leave the council room when a voice stayed them. It was Caiaphas, who at last had found his voice. Wait, wait, he said. Tell no one the things you have seen. Ms94-1897.17

A lying report was then given to the soldiers. “Say ye,” said the priests, “his disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept.” [Matthew 28:13.] How miserable was this scheming. How could the soldiers say that the disciples had stolen the body while they slept, for if they were asleep, how could they know? Ms94-1897.18

The soldiers were horrified at the idea of bringing upon themselves the charge of sleeping at their post. This was an offense punishable with death. Should they bear false witness, deceiving the people, and placing their own lives in peril? Did they not keep their weary watch with sleepless vigilance? How could they stand the trial, even for the sake of money, if they perjured themselves. Ms94-1897.19

In order to secure the evidence they wished, the priests promised to secure the safety of the guard, saying that Pilate would not desire to have such a testimony circulated any more than they did. The Roman soldiers sold themselves and their integrity to the Jews for money. They came in before the priests burdened with a most startling message of truth, but they went out with a burden of money and with a lying report on their tongues, which had been framed for them by the priests. Ms94-1897.20

So far men will go in fastening themselves in deception. To sustain themselves in their sin, the priests denied facts that it was not possible to make of none effect. Ms94-1897.21

The women that stood by the cross of Christ waited and watched for the hours of the Sabbath to pass. On the first day of the week they rose very early, and made their way to the tomb, taking with them precious spices to anoint the Saviour’s body. Ms94-1897.22

They did not think about Christ rising from the dead. The sun of their hope had gone out in darkness, and night had settled down on their hearts. As they walked, they recounted Christ’s works of mercy and His words of comfort. O if they had remembered His words, “I will see you again.” [John 16:22.] Ms94-1897.23

Ignorant of what had happened, they drew near the sepulcher, saying as they went, “Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulcher?” [Mark 16:3.] They knew that they could not remove the stone, yet they urged their way forward. But, lo, the stone is rolled away, and the grave is empty. The women see an angel whose countenance is as the lightning. But this sight does not strike them to the earth as it did the soldiers. A voice as sweet as music says to them, “Fear not ye; for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here; for he is risen as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead.” [Matthew 28:5-7.] Ms94-1897.24

He is risen, he is risen! The women repeated the words again and again. No need now for the anointing spices. They remembered that when speaking of his death, Jesus had said that He would rise again. Their understanding was enlarged. They saw the deep and broad character of the Master’s glory. Many things that had appeared incomprehensible to them were now clear. Ms94-1897.25

What a day that was to the world! The Saviour was living, and not dead. But with a desperate effort to disprove the testimony of the guards, the priests affirmed that Christ’s body had been stolen. In the terrible darkness that came on the earth as Christ hung on the cross, when nature was convulsed and the earth quaked, priests and rulers, the centurion and the hardened soldiers, received all the evidence they desired. Ms94-1897.26

“When the centurion and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.” [Matthew 27:54.] But the priests were determined to reject the light, and everywhere the words were sounded, the body of Christ was stolen, the grave robbed. Ms94-1897.27

But the disciples, calm and joyful in the belief of the truth declared that Christ had risen from the dead. The resurrection of Jesus was certain. On every hand the Sanhedrin was met by facts. The testimony borne by the risen saints contradicted the lie that the Roman guards had been hired to report. Ms94-1897.28

Abundant evidence was given the disciples of the resurrection of their Lord. As two of them walked to Emmaus, Christ joined them, and beginning at Moses, He opened to them in all the prophets the things concerning himself. In the upper chamber He revealed Himself to the eleven as one risen from the dead. Ms94-1897.29

Unflinchingly the apostles bore evidence that early in the morning of the first day of the week they went to the sepulcher, but found it empty. They saw the shroud that had been wrapped about Christ’s body and the napkin that was about His head, but they did not find their Lord’s body. They bore evidence that the Lord had indeed risen, that His body had not seen corruption, that they had seen Him, and talked with Him. It meant everything for the disciples to bear this witness. It was a decided triumph, and made of none effect the falsehood of the Jewish priests. Christianity was established by evidence that could not be controverted. Ms94-1897.30

“I delivered unto you first of all that which I received,” Paul writes to the Corinthians, “how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again according to the Scriptures; and that he was seen of Cephas, and then of the twelve; after that he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain until this present; but some are fallen asleep. After that he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. After that he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.” [1 Corinthians 15:3-8.] Ms94-1897.31

Christ’s resurrection is placed in the very foreground of the foundation of the Christian church. This is a matter of the deepest importance. The future of the church militant depended on the fact that the same One that was crucified should come forth from the grave, proclaiming, “I am the resurrection and the life.” [John 11:25.] The resurrection of Christ is to Christianity as the soul is to the body. It is the sum and substance of the truth of the inspired Word. Christ’s life is the verification of the written Word. Ms94-1897.32