We were all relieved to see him get up after taking such a hit. Football is a rough sport, and wide receivers are so vulnerable when they stretch for a pass over the middle of the field. Two defensive backs had hit him simultaneously – OUCH! It seemed like a miracle that he got up and walked away.
Jesus took a vicious hit when the Jews and Romans conspired to crucify Him. They laid Him out in death. It was a miracle that He got up and walked away. That’s how Peter described the resurrection of Christ in his sermon on the day of Pentecost. In Acts 2:24 he said, “Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that he should be held by it.” Peter said the resurrection was a matter of God raising Jesus up.
The word “raised up” is one word in the Greek text, and literally means “to stand up.” It’s a compound word with the preposition “up” attached to the front of the verb “to stand.” Hence, “to stand up.” Now that’s what God did in the resurrection. Jesus was lying flat on his back in Joseph of Arimathaea’s tomb, and on the third day, God made Him stand up.
Have you ever rooted for the hero in a movie? He’s been knocked down and is lying there motionless. Then his eyelids twitch, he opens his eyes, and gets back up again. Wow! You’re so relieved – it’s an exciting moment.
That must have been how it was with the angels looking down from heaven on the motionless form of the Son of God. For two days they held their breath. And then, on the third day, Jesus opened His eyes. His body stepped out of the grave clothes, leaving them collapsed on the ledge. And there He was – standing up again! The angels applauded, a lump in their throats, and a tear in their eyes. God had raised Him up!
Now you know the real meaning of the word.
Think about this: Next time when a hero stands up again – think about Jesus. Are you excited about the resurrection of Jesus?