By Kenneth Hagin jr.
Jesus Christ was raised from the dead! But despite scriptural proof of this glorious fact, many people still do not believe.
If you want to enjoy the blessings of God, heed the words of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself and “be not faithless, but believing’ (John 20:27)!
As Christians, we know that God’s plan of redemption was not fulfilled until Jesus was raised from the dead. Our faith is founded upon the fact that Jesus was born of a virgin, that He was crucified and died
for our sins, that He rose again to live eternally, and that He is coming again!
First Corinthians 15:14 says, “And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.” But we know that Jesus was raised from the dead and lives forevermore! Read carefully this passage from the Book of John that describes Peter and John’s discovery of Jesus’ resurrection.
1 The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.
2 Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid
3 Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre.
4 So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre. 5 And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in.
6 Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, 7 And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.
8 Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and BELIEVED.
John arrived at Jesus’ sepulchre first that morning when he and Peter raced to the tomb. Yet notice, John stopped at the tomb’s entrance and simply looked inside. But when Peter arrived at the tomb, he did not hesitate or slow his stride in the least. He simply ducked his head and charged inside.
Then John followed Peter inside the tomb. He and Peter surveyed the tomb. They found Jesus’ grave clothes – evidence that Jesus had been there. The Jewish custom was to wrap their dead in cloth, forming a swaddling wrapping of linen, similar to a cocoon. Peter and John found these grave clothes and the napkin or cloth that had been laid over Jesus’ face. It was folded and laid aside “wrapped together in a place by itself ” (v. 7). But Jesus wasn’t there. The tomb was empty!
All the evidence of death was there. But there was nothing but the evidence of death. The Person who died was not there! And this passage says that John saw and believed (v. 8).
We know John held to his belief about Jesus’ resurrection from the dead because more than half a century after John stood with Peter inside the tomb, he still believed.
John was the last of the twelve apostles to die. At the time John was exiled to Patmos, where he penned the words of the Book of Revelation, all the other apostles had laid down their lives as martyrs.
It is said that because the many attempts to kill John were unsuccessful, the Roman emperor Dornitian banished John to the Isle of Patmos. The little island, called a living tomb, was nothing more than
a rocky mass in the Aegean Sea that the Roman government used as a place of exile for felons.
John wrote the following words on the Isle of Patmos.
9 1 John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus
10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet.
John was exiled by himself for “the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ” (v. 9). Yet he was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day and heard a Voice – the Voice of the resurrected Savior. John was in the
Spirit on the Lord’s day because he still believed! John had been persecuted in just about every way he could be persecuted, and yet he still believed! With no one to talk to and surrounded by masses of
rocks on that tiny island, John still believed.
According to what is recorded in Scripture, the Apostle John was the first to believe that Jesus had risen (John 20:8). And John was the one chosen to pen the last words of Jesus that we have on record in the
Scriptures – words to encourage the believers who were in turmoil and who were suffering persecution for their faith in Jesus Christ. They were words of revelation concerning the end of all things.
11 … I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book….
12 And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;
13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man….
15 … and his voice [was] as the sound of many waters….
17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last.
Look at Revelation 1:12 and 13. When John turned to see the Voice that spoke to him, he saw the Son of Man. John knew Jesus. He had eaten with Him, walked with Him, and talked with Him as one of His disciples. And John believed in the death, burial, and resurrection of his Lord and Savior.
18 1 am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I AM ALIVE FOR EVERMORE, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
Centuries have passed since John heard the Voice of the Lord declare that He was alive forevermore, but the truth of God’s Word is eternal. Jesus is and always will be the First and the Last, the Beginning and
the End! He was dead, but He now lives forevermore!
Today, you and I live in a day when not everyone believes in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Often the Resurrection is referred to as the first-century myth. But friend, it is not a myth! It happened!
… Jesus Christ is the king of kings and Lord of lords. He arose victorious – the winner – over death, hell, and the grave!
Some years ago, a theological ecumenical meeting was held in which approximately nine different seminaries were represented. All the professors in attendance said they did not believe in the bodily
resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ!
Of course, those professors did not believe that the Bible is literally the inspired Word of God. And yet they taught in some of the seminaries that produce ministers who stand on platforms and behind
pulpits across the country and around the world today.
Theologians may be divided on the subject of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. But every human being on the face of the earth who hears the account of the Resurrection must come up with a verdict for himself. He must decide and declare “I believe” or “I do not believe.” There is no in-between.
John decided that he believed Jesus rose to live eternally, and John held to his belief even when he was severely persecuted. In the Johannine literature, we see what kept John going. It was his belief
in the risen Savior! John stated it in the latter part of his Gospel, “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: BUT THESE ARE WRITTEN, THAT YE MIGHT BELIEVE that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name” (John 20:30, 31). John wrote that we might believe!
John declared his belief when he stood in the tomb with Peter as they looked upon Jesus’ grave clothes. And John was still in faith more than fifty years later on the Isle of Patmos. He believed!
Your own belief in Jesus’ resurrection and your relationship with the Savior will carry you through even the darkest hour of your life and deliver you “to the other side” in victory – in the light of His glory
and grace. As the song goes, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”
Throughout the persecution John endured, he kept his eyes on the Lord and continued to believe. Many people today remain in perplexing situations because they have their eyes on the problem, and the more
they look at the problem, the bigger the problem seems. But if they would turn their eyes from the problems and circumstances of life and begin to look to Jesus, they would find that things would begin to change for the better.
John kept his eyes on Jesus even when he was in exile. I believe John remembered the tomb and how Jesus had appeared to the disciples for forty days after He rose from the dead. John was there when Jesus died, and he was there when Jesus no longer occupied the tomb where He was buried. And I believe that John remembered the words of the angels: “… why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11). John’s belief in the Savior carried him through the years, and John’s belief enabled him to write he did.
God knew that John believed. The Lord spoke to John in a voice like a trumpet, saying, “I am Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last… ” (Rev. 1:11)! “Alpha” is the first letter of the Greek alphabet, and “Omega” is the last. So Jesus was telling John, “I am everything you need from the beginning to the end”! So even though John suffered persecution for righteousness’ sake, in the midst of his afflictions,
God reassured him that He was still in control.
There are some people today who are on “lsles of Patmos,” so to speak, because of the tests and trials of life. They find themselves surrounded on every side by problems and circumstances for which they
have no answers. When they look upon the horizon, they see darkness and desolation. Every commentator talks about how bleak the future looks. Fear of war, economic upheaval, and civil unrest plague the airways.
But as Christians, we have the truth of God’s Word which promises us a better future (Heb. 6:9). No matter what the evil reports say, there is One who will be our Companion, Friend, and Advocate. His Name is Jesus Christ, and He is alive forevermore!
Jesus reassured John, “…Fear not… I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore… ” (Rev. 1:17,18). Jesus told John to follow Him and to depend on Him forever. Imagine the
impact those words had on the man who had seen the empty tomb and believed. I’m sure John followed Jesus wholeheartedly!
I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to lose. And I have never wanted to follow a loser. When I was in the second grade, we had a gang or club of little kids that did everything as a group. It was nothing like the kind of gangs that we know of today.
Our gang didn’t have a good leader, so I started my own club. One day at morning recess, a boy from the other gang climbed halfway up an oil derrick in the school yard and tied a flag around a part of the
structure. He was trying to demonstrate that his gang was superior to ours.
Well, at noon recess, I climbed all the way to the top and tied a flag of my own to the derrick! Then everybody wanted to be in my group because I was the winner.
I’m not advocating that someone climb to the top of an oil derrick to prove anything. I’m just illustrating a point. In general, people don’t like following losers. I like to go with a winner, don’t you?Friends, Jesus Christ is the King of kings and Lord of lords. He arose victorious – the winner – over death, hell, and the grave! And He’s our Leader.
The leaders of other religions are dead. Today the tombs of Confucius, Buddha, and Mohammed are all still occupied. Each year thousands of followers go to their shrines to pray. But I can take you to a tomb in Jerusalem where thousands go to praise, because that tomb is empty!
Jesus is alive forevermore, and He holds the keys of death and hell (Rev. 1:18). In other words, Jesus holds the keys to the unseen realm. He holds the keys that unlock the door of eternal, abundant life. He
holds the keys that unlock the door of supernatural provision to satisfy your every need. Jesus holds the keys to help you deal successfully with every situation of life.
John saw with his eyes and believed. He saw the empty tomb and the grave clothes. Jesus said to another disciple, Thomas, “… because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not
seen, and yet have believed” (John 20:29).
I wasn’t there when Jesus died or when He arose from the dead, but I believe! And because I believe He lives, I can face tomorrow. Because He lives, I live also!
You, too, must make the decision to believe and then let the resurrected Savior move on your behalf in every area of your life. The newspapers can print what they like, and the television and radio
stations can broadcast all the programs they want to, but every individual must make up his own mind as to what he believes. The belief that Christ was raised from the dead kept John strong spiritually and sustained him through many a test and trial. What do you believe?
The only true God raised the Savior of the world from the dead! That is a Bible fact. And I believe!
THE ABOVE MATERIAL HAS BEEN PUBLISHED BY THE WORD OF FAITH, APRIL 1996. THIS MATERIAL HAS BEEN COPYRIGHTED AND MAY BE USED FOR STUDY AND RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY.