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Easter 2014

It’s resurrection time again!

“Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” Matthew 12:38-40

Without the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Christianity is nothing. If Christ did not rise from the dead, we are still in our sins and are without hope throughout all eternity (1 Corinthians 15:14.)

It is interesting that from the day Jesus entered into His earthly ministry until His death on the cross (3 1/2 years later,) men continued to challenge Him. What is more interesting that after 2000 years His resurrection is still celebrated throughout the world, and yes, men are still challenging Him. After 2000 years His enemies have not found one shred of evidence that would even suggest that Christ did not die and rise again. Here we are again in 2014 preparing to recognize His glorious resurrection one more time. This observance separates Christianity from all other religions. The founders of all religions, small or great, are dead. The Founder of Christianity is alive!

The Jews asked Jesus for a sign and He gave them one, unusual as it were. In His answer He solidified some great scriptural truths. First, He verified the Book of Jonah as true, not a fable. Scholars have worked overtime to discredit Jonah and now we know why…it pertains to Christ’s resurrection.

He also specified a definite time period for His body to lay in the grave…“three days and three nights.” This statement makes it impossible for Christ to have been crucified on Friday. There is no possible way to get “three days and three nights” from Friday to Sunday. (We know the day He arose. Matthew 28:1) “Good Friday” is a myth!

Another thing Christ verified was that Jonah was swallowed by a “whale” which in scripture is a “big fish.” Man classified the whale as a mammal, but centuries before such classification, God put the whale in the fish family (Genesis 1:21.) The whale was created and named prior to the creation of the animals or man. The whale seems to be the only creation other than man that God named. Adam named all of the others (Genesis 2:19.)

To argue whether a man can be swallowed by a whale and live is immaterial (the Princeton Review of 1927 records the story of a man found alive and unconscious after being in a whale’s belly for two days.) Jonah died in the whale’s belly. If he didn’t, then his death could not be a “sign.” In Jonah 2:2, we read that Jonah cried out of the “belly of hell.” That would be the part that contained “Abraham’s bosom” (Luke 16:22-24.) Jonah said he went to “the bottoms of the mountains (Jonah 2:6.) Jonah died in the whale’s belly and God resurrected him.

Jesus Christ paid the debt for our sins in His body on the cross:

“Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” 1 Peter 2:24

While His body lay in a tomb at Jerusalem for three days and three nights, He descended to lead Abraham’s bosom out of hell.

“Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)” Ephesians 4:8-10

After Christ gives the Jews a sign, He gives them a warning:

“The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.” Matthew 12:41

When Jonah was vomited up on dry ground he headed straight for Nineveh to preach to them. These heathen people listened to Jonah, believed him and repented for their sins and God forgave them. The entire city of thousands was saved.

Since that sunny Sunday morning in Jerusalem, the gospel of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection has gone out and those who believed have been saved. It is the same today. With our great communication network all over the globe, the news goes out…He lives! Keep

Looking Up!

Leland Maples

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