It Had To Be

Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead). (John 20:3–9, NIV 1984). 

My Musings – Notice what this verse does not say, “they still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus [would] rise from the dead.”  Not would, “had to.”  The Apostle Paul affirms this in first letter to the church in Corinth. “If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.” (1 Corinthians 15:14, 17, 19, NIV 1984).  Useless, futile and pitiful faith — if Christ had not been raised.

When Christ spoke His final words, “it is finished,” and gave up His spirit, it meant more than He had died for our sins.  It also meant that He had conquered the grave — because He knew that His Father would “not abandon [Him] to the grave, nor [would He] let [His] Holy One see decay.” (Acts 2:27, NIV 1984). The resurrection was God’s affirmation that the sacrifice was accepted.

My Advice“Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:20, 54–55, NIV 1984). It “had to” be this way.  So, encourage one another with these words.

Inspired by Dale Johnson’s Adult Bible Fellowship lesson, November 14, 2021, First Baptist Church of Sycamore, Illinois).

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