"Him (Jesus), being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it."  (Acts 2:23, 24). 
From all appearances King Death had conquered another victim.  For millenniums Death was mighty master of all mankind. There had been powerful conquerors such as Nebuchadnezzar and Alexander, but even these fell before the onslaught of Death.  And now, Jesus, lay cold and lifeless bound by the bonds of death.

There was no question Jesus was dead.  His sweat had become as blood falling to the ground in Gethsemane.  He had been thrashed with the cat of nine tails; beaten with the reed and pummeled by Roman soldier's fists.  He had been nailed to the cross and when it was dropped into the hole every bone was pulled out of joint.  He had experienced suffocation of heart and lungs not to mention the indescribable fever and thirst.  After He said, "Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit." (Luke 23:46) He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.  The Roman captain in charge of the crucifixion testified He was dead but for good measure he ordered the Roman hook-bill thrust into Jesus' side.  When the spear was withdrawn water and blood poured forth...testimony that He died of a broken heart.  When Jesus was taken down from the cross His body was wrapped in burial clothes and a napkin put over His face.  This was all saturated with spices and would have prevented any air reaching his nostrils or mouth.  For three days and nights Death could gloat that he was the invincible victor for he had conquered the Prince of Life.  But on the third day the stone covering the mouth of the grave was flung away.  For hours angels were seen both inside and outside the tomb.  They said, "He is not here.  He is arisen as He  said."  (Matthew 28:6).   Mary Magdalene reported to the apostles, "I say Him and heard Him and would have touched Him if He had not forbid me from doing so."  (John 20:1, 11-18).  The Women who went to complete the embalming reported "We have seen Him and worshipped Him."  (Matthew 28:9, 10).  Simon Peter arrived at his meeting with the ten other apostles with the message, "I have seen the Lord Jesus."  (1st Corinthians 15:5).  The Emmaeus disciples burst into the gathering of apostles with the message, "He walked with us; talked with us; ate with us; taught us and rebuked us."  (Luke 24:13-35).  The ten apostles (Judas was dead and Thomas was absent) testified, "He appeared with us in the upper room though the doors were locked and spoke peace to our souls."  (John 20:19-25).  Thomas said, "I went to the meeting on the second Sunday night.  I saw Him and the nail scars.  I heard Him and fell on my fact before Him and worshipped Him as my God."  (John 20:26-29).  The seven apostles of Galilee testified, "We fished all night and caught nothing but obeying His word our nets were filled with fish and we ate fish He prepared on the shore of Galilee."  (John 21:1-14).  Five hundred believers testified, "We all saw Him and heard Him at the same time in Galilee."  (1st Corinthians 15:6).  One hundred and twenty disciples testified, "We saw Him ascend back into heaven from the Mount of Olives."  (Luke 24:50-53; Acts 1:4-10, 15).  Saul of Tarsus testified, "He stopped me in my tracks on the road to Damascus.  I fell to my face in the dirt in the presence of Him Whose countenance was brighter than the noonday sun.  I heard the risen Jesus speak to me.  I found out that He was neither dead nor a deceiver.  I surrendered totally to His Lordship and changed from a persecutor of Christians to a preacher of Christ."  (Acts 9:3-6, 15).  John the apostle bore witness, "He appeared to me on the Isle of Patmos and gave me the Book of Revelation."  (Revelation 1:1, 2; 9-11). 

These testimonies mean that Jesus conquered death.  The bonds of death could not hold Him because He is the Prince of Life.  It means that He died for our sins as the Scripture says.  "For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but made alive by the Spirit:"  (1st Peter 3:18).  It means that He is risen to be the Great High Priest and one mediator between God and men Who is "...able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them."    (Hebrews 7:25.  See also Hebrews 4:14 and 1st Timothy 2:5).  "Behold, I tell you a mystery:  We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed---in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.  For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.  For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.  So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written:  'Death is swallowed up in victory.'  'O Death, where is your sting?  O Hades, where is your victory?"  (1st Corinthians 15:51-55).

Copyright 2004 Thomas E Berry
Scripture quotations from NKJV unless otherwise noted


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