KEY PASSAGE: Matthew 28:1-6
SUPPORTING SCRIPTURES: Isaiah 9:6 | Matthew 16:18 | Matthew 24:42-44 | Mark 1:35 | Luke 11:1 | Luke 19:10 | John 1:41 | John 8:19 | John 10:30 | John 11:21 | John 11:25 | John 14:1-3 | John 14:6 | John 14:11 | John 14:16-17 | John 14:27 | Hebrews 9:27 | 1 Peter 2:24
Easter is the celebration of the greatest message ever delivered: “He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said” (Matt. 28:6).
What first appeared to be a defeat turned out to be the accomplishment of an amazing mission by Jesus Christ, who overcame death and lives forevermore.
What was Jesus’ mission?
The Son of God left heaven to come to earth to accomplish all that the Father had given Him to do.
• He came to reveal the Father. In the Old Testament there are glimpses of the heavenly Father, but when the Son of God appeared in human flesh, mankind was given a much greater degree of revelation. Jesus made some startling claims about His relationship to the Father.
- “If you knew Me, you would know My Father also” (John 8:19).
- “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30).
- “I am in the Father and the Father is in Me” (John 14:11).
• He came to redeem fallen mankind. Because humanity is sinful, we need a Savior. Otherwise, we will die in our sins and face condemnation. Jesus came to rescue us: “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).
• He came to revive the faltering hope of those who were looking for the Messiah. Hundreds of years had passed since Isaiah prophesied of the coming Messiah (Isa. 9:6). When John the Baptist introduced Jesus as the long awaited Messiah, Andrew believed and told his brother Peter, “We have found the Messiah” (John 1:41). Their hope was restored.
• He came to offer His life as a sacrifice on the cross for our sins. “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness, for by His wounds you were healed” (1 Pet. 2:24). Jesus’ death provided the redemption that accomplished salvation for us.
• He came to introduce us to the power of the Holy Spirit. There are references to God’s Spirit in the Old Testament, but Jesus unveiled much more about Him to His disciples: “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you” (John 14:16-17). The presence of the Holy Spirit within a person differentiates between the saved and unsaved. As elievers we are sealed with the Holy Spirit who teaches, guides, and empowers us to live a godly life.
• He came to show us how to love and forgive one another. Although He taught these lessons in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus’ greatest instruction was accomplished on the cross. Because He loved us, He willingly laid down His life for us. In the same way, He was the perfect example of forgiveness when He forgave those who crucified Him. When we consider how great His forgiveness is toward us, we have no right to hold anything against someone else.
• He came to leave us truths and teachings to transform our lives and prepare us to meet Him in the future. Although we have never seen Jesus physically, one day we will see Him in all His glory. But for now Jesus’ mission is to prepare us to live holy lives in a sinful, unforgiving world. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful”(John 14:27).
• He came to teach us how to pray Prayer was an essential part of Jesus’ life: “In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there” (Mark 1:35). Although His time of ministry was only three years, He always took time to pray and receive the Father’s guidance. Having observed how Jesus prayed, His disciples asked Him to teach them to pray as well (Luke 11:1). We should always set aside time to give God our full attention as we bring our concerns to Him in prayer. Without prayer, we have no power to live as He desires.
• He came to give us assurance of life after death. After Lazarus died, Jesus assured Mary and Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies” (John 11:25). We have this same promise that death will not end our existence, nor that of our believing loved ones. Jesus provided eternal life for us with His death and resurrection.
• He came to assure us that heaven is our home. “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:1-2).
• He came to prepare us to live in a way that influences others. Jesus trained twelve men who would eventually impact the world. Today this same process is happening as others see our lives and hear the gospel. The message of salvation that we heard came through a long line of people who were faithful to share the gospel with others.
• He came to establish the church. In Matthew 16:18, Jesus said, “Upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.” The rock on which the church is built is the truth of God’s Word and the gospel of Jesus Christ. Despite persecution, trials, and suffering, He has accomplished His mission of building the church that endures through generations. Even the death of the saints cannot destroy it as multitudes continue to be saved.
• He came to get us ready for His coming. Jesus Christ will return again one day and in an hour we do not expect (Matt. 24:42-44). That’s why we must always be ready to meet Him.
Jesus had a mission, and He couldn’t be stopped. In the three short years of His ministry, He accomplished all that God had given Him to do and prepared His people for both life and death.
- Have you received the salvation Jesus made possible? If not, what is keeping you from trusting in Him?
- If you have been saved, are you living in the benefits He provided for you? How have His teachings and truths transformed your life? How do they give you assurance and hope in the future and in death?