“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.
~ Mark 16:6
We know that some groups will be taking Easter week off due to holiday plans. If your group is meeting we encourage you to make this a special occasion of celebration. Perhaps your Group can host a dinner, or a party, and even invite friends.
For your bible study and discussion time stay focused on the Easter story. Not everyone is familiar with the story, so take the time to explain the events that lead to the cross. Allow everyone to ask questions, and stick to the bible for solid answers. If you, or someone in your Group has a study bible, it will have a good index of the events and readings for Easter week.
Read Mark 16:1-7
Easter means resurrection, and more, new creation! The message highlighted three blessings of new creation. Discuss the following:
2 Corinthians 5:1-5
For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. 2 We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. 3 For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies.[a] 4 While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life. 5 God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit.
Jesus got a resurrected body. Jesus is returning in his body. We are promised new, resurrected bodies. Why is this so important and what practical difference does it make?
7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee.
Jesus sends the women. Jesus calls his disciples and reinstates Peter (John 20). He is going ahead and preparing the way. What do you understand the re-newed mission of the church to be, and how can we carry it out?
That passage from 2 Corinthians talks about the guarantee of the Spirit. Who is the Spirit? How is he a guarantee? What it the ministry of the Holy Spirit inner lives?
“Already… Not Yet”
George closed Easter with a prayer for more of the “already” while we live in the “not yet.” Have you heard this before? Do you understand biblically what this means? Are you longing for more of the already in your life? What steps can you make or what can you do to participate with God in the “already” promises of the Christian life?
Here are some statements on the resurrection, and why it matters:
1. Christ predicted His resurrection. The Bible records, “From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things … and be killed, and be raised up on the third day” (Matthew 16:21). Even though His followers did not understand what He was telling them at the time, they remembered His words and recorded them.
2. Jesus made numerous appearances to His followers. He comforted the mourners outside His tomb on Sunday morning. On the road to Emmaus, He explained things about Himself from the Old Testament. Later, He ate in their presence and invited them to touch Him. Jesus was seen by more than 500 at one time.
3. The unrelenting faith of the disciples convinces us of the resurrection. Those disciples who were once so afraid that they deserted their Lord now courageously proclaimed this news, risking their lives to preach. Their bold and courageous behavior does not make sense unless they knew with absolute certainty that Jesus had been raised from the dead.
4. The growth of the Christian church confirms the resurrection. Peter’s first sermon, which dealt with Christ’s resurrection, stirred people to receive Him as their living Savior. Luke records the thrilling results: “That day there were added about three thousand souls” (Acts 2:41). Today, there are millions of believers.
5. The testimony of hundreds of millions of transformed lives through the centuries shows the power of the Resurrection. The most conclusive proof for the resurrection of Jesus Christ is that He is living within believers today with transforming power.
The Resurrection sets Christianity apart. Here are some thoughts on the significance of the Resurrection:
1. The Resurrection proved that Christ was divine. The fact that Jesus Christ died on the cross does not prove in itself He is God. Jesus proved His deity by fulfilling the prophecies of His death and by His return from the grave. The Bible declares that “by being raised from the dead [Christ] was proved to be the mighty Son of God, with the holy nature of God Himself” (Romans 1:4).
2. The Resurrection proved Christ’s power to forgive sin. The Bible asserts, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins” (1 Corinthians 15:17). By rising from the dead, Jesus proved His authority to break the bonds of sin and to assure forgiveness and eternal life to all who accept His gift of salvation.
3. The Resurrection revealed Christ’s power over death. The Bible records, “Christ rose from the dead and will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him” (Romans 6:9).
4. The Resurrection secured our victory over death as well and “lifted us up from the grave into glory along with Christ…” (Ephesians 2:6).
5. The Resurrection defeated God’s enemy. From the moment of his original rebellion until the day of the Cross, the devil fought viciously and cunningly to overthrow the kingdom of God. Satan must have thought he had dealt the final and decisive blow in this age-old war. But the Cross was heaven’s triumph. And when Jesus Christ arose, the power of sin and death were forever shattered. Because of the Resurrection, Christians need never fear Satan or death again.