Wednesday, February 8, 2012


It was a huge stone. According to Mark’s gospel, “it was extremely large” (Mark 16:4). Frank Morison called the stone at Jesus’ tomb “the one silent and infallible witness in the whole episode—and there are certain facts about this stone which call for very careful study and investigation.” He went on to say: “Let us consider first its size and probable character…no doubt the stone was large and consequently very heavy. This fact is asserted and implied by all the writers who refer to it. Mark says it was “exceeding great.” Matthew speaks of it as a “great stone.” Peter says “for the stone was great.” Additional testimony on this point is furnished by the reported anxiety of the women as to how they should move it (Mark 16:3). If the stone had not been of considerable weight the combined strength of three women should have been capable of moving it. We receive, therefore, a very definite impression that is was at least too weighty for the women to move unaided.”

It has been suggested that the stone weighed somewhere between 3000 and 4000 lbs and was of sufficient size and weight which “twenty men could not roll away.” The stone was just one of the security measures Pilate had put in place. He sent a guard (16 soldiers) to secure the tomb, instructing them to “make it as secure as you know how” (Matthew 27:65). Those Roman soldiers were proud and capable—they failed in a given task under penalty of death. The guard set a “seal on the stone.” A. T. Robertson commented that the method of sealing was “probably by a cord stretched across the stone and sealed at each end as in Daniel 6:17…The sealing was done in the presence of the Roman guards who were left in charge to protect the stamp of Roman authority and power.”

The soldiers, the seal, and the stone were set in place. They had done everything they could to make the grave secure—but how can you lock up the creator in a cave? “It was impossible for Him to be held in (death’s) power” (Acts 2:24). Every soldier from the entirety of the Roman Empire would not have been able to keep Him in that tomb. The Devil himself could have sealed the tomb with titanium bands and it would have done no good. Mountain atop mountain would have not have kept entombed He “who is the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25).

The stone was rolled away not to let Jesus out (the creator is not bound by such things), but to let the witnesses in. They came to the tomb and found “an angel of the Lord (who had) descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it” (Matthew 28:2). They entered the tomb and saw for themselves, “He has risen, just as He said” (Matthew 28:6). The Roman soldiers witnessed the security breach. They went to the leaders, who then bribed them to lie (Matthew 28:11-15).

He rose from the dead. He presented Himself alive to the apostles (and others) “by many convincing proofs” (Acts 1:3; Cf. 1 Corinthians 15:3-80). They, having been commissioned by the Risen Lord, went forth boldly proclaiming His death and resurrection (Acts 2:23-24; 3:15; 4:10; 4:33; 5:30; 10:39-40; 13:39-40). Most of them suffered martyrdom for the gospel message that they preached.

Years ago, still unsure what to believe, I attended a church in Kailua, Oahu. The pastor was not there so one of the elders gave the sermon. It had something to do with the resurrection of Christ—I cannot recall exactly. But afterwards I went up to the man and asked him how he could know for sure that Jesus had risen from the dead. He did not speak of all of the Biblical evidence of the resurrection—though God has used such evidence to lead others to Christ (i.e. Frank Morison)—he spoke of how Christ lived inside of Him. That was how he knew.

And so it is today. There are plenty who, in their efforts to “suppress the truth” (Romans 1:18), would love to shove Jesus back in that tomb. The problem is—He is the risen Lord! And He’s coming again! And no manipulation of man—no matter how clever or strong—can erase that truth. He lives inside the heart of the believer (2 Corinthians 13:5). The “surpassing greatness of His power” is at work in their lives (Ephesians 1:19). No grave will hold them either—when Christ comes for His own (1 Corinthians 15:22-23).

He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way.
He lives, He lives, salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart.

Pastor Jerry

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