The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and Pharisees assembled before Pilate.
bona fide belief that Jesus had risen from the dead and was alive. The question is - How was this belief produced? There are three answers.
(1) The disciples saw our Lord alive after crucifixion, but he had never been dead.
(2) They only thought they saw him.
(3) They did see him alive after being dead and buried. The first is scarcely worthy of attention, - it is so obviously inadequate. We ask for an explanation of this singular circumstance, that a number of men arrived at the firm conviction they had an Almighty Friend, One who had all power in heaven and on earth, and we are told they had seen their Master after crucifixion, creeping about the earth, scarcely able to move, pale, weak, helpless. This supposition is no explanation of their faith in him as a risen, glorious, almighty Lord. The second would suffice had we only to explain how one person believed he or she had seen the Lord. But what we have here to explain is how several persons, in different places, at different times, and in various moods of mind, came to believe they had seen him. He was recognized, not by persons who expected to see him alive, but by women who went to anoint him dead; not by credulous, excitable persons, but by persons so resolutely sceptical and so keenly alive to the possibility of delusion that nothing but handling his body could convince them. Nothing will explain the faith of the apostles and of the rest but the fact of their really seeing the Lord, after his death, alive and endowed with all power. They were men animated by no paltry spirit of vain glory, but by seriousness, even sublimity of mind - men whose lives require an explanation precisely such as is given by the supposition that they had been brought into contact with the spiritual world in this surprising and solemnizing manner. It is not denied that the evidence for the Resurrection would be quite sufficient to authenticate any ordinary historical event. It can be refused only on the ground that no evidence, however strong, could prove such an incredible event. The supernatural is rejected as a preliminary, so as to bar any consideration of the most important evidences of the supernatural. No account of the belief in the Resurrection has ever been given more credible than that which it seeks to supplant - the simple one that the Lord did rise again. The position of the Resurrection in the system of Christian facts and motives is all-important.
I. It is the chief proof that Jesus was not mistaken regarding his own Person, his own work, his relation to the Father, and the prospects of himself and his people. It is also the Father's attestation to the sufficiency of his work.
II. If our Lord's work be viewed as a revelation of the Father, the Resurrection will equally be seen to be necessary. Were there no resurrection, we should be obliged to seek our highest ideas of God in the tomb, not in the Divine condescension and love which are visible on the cross, but in a being overcome and defeated by the same ills that overwhelm us all.
III. In the risen Lord we find the source of all spiritual strength. Any one who passes through death uninjured, who conquers that which conquers all other men without exception, shows that he has some command over nature which does not belong to other men. And he who shows this superiority in virtue of a moral superiority, and uses it in the furtherance of the highest moral ends, shows a command over the whole affairs of men which makes it easy to believe he can guide us into a condition like his own. Especially does the Resurrection enable us to believe that our Lord can communicate the Holy Spirit. Salvation is reduced to very small limits indeed, and the Christian religion becomes a mere system of morality, if there be not now a living Christ able to bestow a living Spirit.
IV. In the risen Lord we see the character of the life to which we are called in fellowship with him, and also the destiny that awaits us in him. As he passed to God, and lives with him, so must we now live wholly to God, letting this great gulf of death stand between us and our past life of self-pleasing and worldliness. In him risen, with a human body and not a bare spirit, we see what we ourselves are to be in that future life. The Divine Spirit is the source both of holiness and of immortality; if we now have the one evidence of his indwelling, we shall one day have the other. - D.
Command therefore that the sepulchre be made secure.I. This passage of sacred history illustrates the truth that God has "made all things for Himself, yea, even the wicked for the day of evil." "There is no counsel, nor wisdom, nor understanding against the Lord."
II. Some Christians are chosen of God to display by their great trials His power and wisdom, as Christ was by His death and burial and resurrection.
III. Bad men should be objects of pity rather than of fear or anger.
IV. Everything relating to the resurrection of Christ is unspeakably interesting for this reason, "He was raised again for our justification."
(N. Adams, D. D.)
(J. P. Lange, D. D.)
I. adjured his son and nobles that if he died in his journey into Scotland, they should carry his corpse about with them, and not suffer it to be interred till they had vanquished the usurper and subdued the country. Something like to this the prophet Isaiah foretelleth of our Saviour (and we see it here accomplished), when he saith, "In that day the root of Jesse shall stand up for an ensign to the people, and even his rest (or, as some read it, his sepulchre) shall be glorious (Isaiah 11:10). There are that think that these words, "The day that followed the day of the preparation," are put ironically, or by way of a jest against the hypocritical sabbatism of the high priests, who would so workday-like, beg the body, seal the sepulchre, and set the watch on that Sabbath, for the which they seemed to prepare so devoutly before it came.
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