The Resurrection - Beyond Human Control

Beyond Human Control – The Resurrection.
Reflection by Pastor, Rev. Dr. Scott T. Arnold
First Baptist Church of Los Angeles.  3/31/2021

57 As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. 58 Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. 59 Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60 and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away. 61 Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb.
62 The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. 63 “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ 64 So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.” 65 “Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” 66 So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.  (Matthew 27:57-66)
      The resurrection was out of the control of man for it was God’s plan and promise through Jesus.  For Joseph of Arimathea, as a disciple of Jesus, it is said that he asked for permission to bury the body of Jesus in his own tomb. Pilate consented, but the next day the Pharisees went to Pilate with a concern. They feared “fake news”. They wanted to make sure no fraudulent “resurrection” could be claimed. Their plan to Pilate involved watching over the tomb with soldiers who would seal the tomb, watch it for days by guard, and prevent any mischief.   You could say, they did not believe in the resurrection, but they did believe in a deceptive removal of the body and false claims that could follow.
     Now it should be noted that there are people who say that Jesus fainted and did not die on the cross (the teachings of Islam claim this).  However, the response of the Roman and Jewish authorities gives clear indication that there was no evidence to say Jesus had not died. This was verified by the Roman soldiers and those whose life depended on making sure. The Pharisees also knew that Jesus had died. The disciples, including Joseph of Arimathea, knew that Jesus had died. This was beyond doubt. The question of Jesus and the promised Resurrection lingered as a mystery.
     In going to the tomb, a day later, these Roman guards would inspect the tomb, seal it, and guard it 24/7.  The authorities believed they could control the outcome.  Mankind often makes this assumption. Yet, after three days in the tomb, early in the morning Jesus Christ rose triumphant from the grave.  God was in control. Christ’s resurrection power was beyond human control. Today, His power to save us from sin and death is available to all who would believe in Him as Lord and Savior. Christ is a risen and living Savior.  To believe in Him is within our human control, this element of faith, the free choice to receive the gift of God’s love and saving grace. That is up to you, and you may receive the gift of eternal life through the power of Jesus forgiveness on the cross and the new life given through His resurrection.
     This Easter, we rejoice for the hope we have of eternal life in Jesus Christ. The COVID 19 virus can not separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.  For Holy Thursday, April 1st, we will meet in the Dining Hall at 7pm to celebrate the Lord’s Supper and have a time to remember loved ones who have recently passed away.
       This Easter we will be resuming in person indoor worship in our main sanctuary at 10:00a.m. (with COVID protocols).  Some of our friends from the Koinonia Church will join us. We will continue to broadcast live through Facebook, and post videos afterwards.
      May the joy of the resurrection of Jesus Christ leap within your heart.
      Christ is Risen.  He has Risen indeed!
  • Pastor. Rev. Dr. Scott T. Arnold  

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