When I was in high school I watched the movie “The Hurricane”, which is a biopic about the life of Rubin Carter. Carter was a middleweight boxer who was sentenced to multiple life sentences for being convicted in a triple-homicide case in 1966. During the course of the trial, Carter claimed to be innocent. Even after being in prison for a number of years, and being denied an appeal, Carter persisted in his claim of innocence. While in prison, Carter wrote a book, The Sixteenth Round, in which he continues to claim innocence. Carter would spend nineteen years in prison before he was vindicated in 1985. Nineteen years worth of claims were proven true in one single act.
In Matthew 28, we see the ultimate vindication for Jesus Christ. Here was a man who spent His entire life clearly claiming to be God; claiming to be the Jewish Messiah prophesied about throughout the Old Testament. He made claims such as existing before Abraham (John 8:58), the ability to forgive sin (Mark 2:5), and being the fulfillment of law and the prophets (Matthew 5:17). Ultimately, it was these claims of divinity that lead to His crucifixion. However, gloriously here in chapter twenty-eight we see in His resurrection the ultimate vindication. This is why Jesus can say to His disciples as He sends them out, “I am with you always, even to the ends of the age.”
It is intriguing to think of the changes that took place in the lives of some of the disciples as a result of the resurrection. James, the brother of Jesus, went from not believing at all (he probably thought his brother was a lunatic!) to devoting his life to following Christ. Peter insisted that he be crucified upside down because he was not worthy to be crucified in the same manner as His Lord. John was boiled alive in oil…and LIVED to continue to preach the gospel! Paul, who was killing Christians, went on to become the most famous missionary in history after being confronted by the risen Lord. In fact, Paul felt so strongly about the resurrection and the vindication that it brought Christ that he wrote in 1 Corinthians that without the Resurrection that preaching is useless, faith is useless, and that we are all pitiful liars!
So, I ask: how does the resurrection impact your life? The claims of Christ are completely vindicated in His resurrection. He IS alive, He IS the fulfillment of the Scriptures, He CAN forgive sin, and He IS with us to the ends of the age. For every human being who evaluates Scripture and the life of Christ, and who accepts His Lordship, this MUST have a demonstrable impact on their life. Spend some time with the resurrected Lord this week and reflect upon who He is, what He has done, and let it impact you to follow Him and carry out His commands.
Each week this blog will be updated with a word for the week from my current studies.