He is risen!

Yearly God’s people celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus.  It was a turning point in history.  No Resurrection of Jesus means no Kingdom of God, 

‘…Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep.  For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also comes through a man.  For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.… Then the end will come, when He hands over the Kingdom to the Father after He has destroyed all dominion, authority and power.’ 1 Corinthians 15:20-24

Christ is the key to the eternal Kingdom but, there is another aspect.  

Before His Crucifixion, Jesus was fully human and fully God.  When He went to Galilee from Jerusalem, He had to walk.  He became tired,

‘…and Jesus, tired as He was from the journey, sat down by the well….’  John 6:6

When He arose after His crucifixion and death, His body had changed.  For example, two of Jesus’ followers were going to Emmaus.  On their way Jesus joined them and feigned ignorance of the momentous events that took place in Jerusalem.  They were surprised by His ‘ignorance’ and told Him about His crucifixion and the women who reported that they had seen Him alive.   They invited Him to stay with them.  While they were eating they suddenly recognized Him and He disappeared.  Immediately they hurried back to Jerusalem to report it to the disciples.  Then it happened, 

”While they were still talking about this, Jesus Himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.'”  Luke 24:36 

The disciples thought they were seeing a ghost, but He reassured them, 

‘Look at My hands and My feet.  It is I Myself!  Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.’  Luke 24:39

At another occasion, while the disciples were gathered, 

‘Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them.’  John 20:26b

Conclusion

Jesus is alive and at His Father’s right hand in heaven.

No Resurrection, no New Testament

It is Easter, the time of the year that we celebrate the greatest event of all time: the Redeemer, the King on the Cross that died and was resurrected on the third day.  It sounds a bit strange, but it is a demonstration of how God’s ways differ from the ways we think.

#  Did the Resurrection happen?

At this time of the year many defenders of the faith write about the Resurrection and how we can know it really happened.  They understand that without the Resurrection, we would have no New Testament.  The logic in Scripture tells us that Jesus rose from the dead.  Let us look at what the New Testament reveals:

#  Jesus’ appearances to Peter and Paul after His resurrection

  • Jesus talked to Peter after His Resurrection.1  Peter wrote the two letters, 1 & 2 Peter.
  • The Resurrected Lord Jesus appeared to Paul on the road to Damascus.  If Jesus was then still in the grave, He could not have appeared to Paul.  He did.  Which explains why we have Paul’s letters.  Without the Resurrection, Romans as well as the letters to the Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, et cetera would not be in the Bible. 2
  • Paul’s companion, Luke, wrote both the Gospel of Luke and Acts.  There would have been no message to spread if Jesus did not rise from the dead.  Luke accompanied Paul on some of his journeys to bring the Gospel to the Gentiles.  Luke reports in Acts 22:21 that the resurrected Lord Jesus said to Paul, ‘Go; I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’

#  Because of the Resurrection we have the four Gospels.

  • If Jesus did not rise from the dead, why would the disciples tell the world His story?  Jesus said to His disciples just before His ascension, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations….’ 3  So the four Gospels as well as the spread of the Gospel throughout the world testify to Jesus’ resurrection.

#  The beloved John wrote and saw the glorified Jesus.

  • Scholars accept that Jesus’ beloved disciple, John, wrote the 3 letters of John.  John writes about Jesus as if He is alive in His Father’s presence, ‘But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defence – Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.’ 4  That is only possible because Jesus rose from the dead.
  • Likewise the resurrected Jesus gave the book of Revelation to John.  The glorified Lord Jesus said to John, ‘I am the First and the Last.  I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever….’ 5  

#  Jesus’ brothers believe in Him.

  • We read in John 7:3-9 that Jesus’ brothers did not have faith in Him.   Yet the letters of His brothers James and Jude are in the New Testament.  Their change from unbelief to belief must have happened after the Resurrection.

#  Jesus at His Father’s right hand in heaven

  • In the letter to the Hebrews God says to the Lord Jesus after His ascension, ‘You are my Son, today I have become your Father.’ 6  God also said to Jesus, ‘Sit at my right hand….’ 7  It happened after the Resurrection, because the Father was satisfied that Jesus paid the death penalty for sin.

Conclusion

If Jesus did not rise from the dead on the third day, there would be no New Testament.  We have the New Testament.  We glorify the Resurrected Jesus, our glorious, wonderful Saviour.

References

  1. John 21:1-22
  2. Acts 9:4-16; 22:7-10; 26:14-18
  3. Matthew 28:18
  4. 1 John 2:1
  5. Revelation 1:18
  6. Hebrews 1:5
  7. Hebrews 1:13

Adam and the resurrection

Why do skeptics regularly question the resurrection of Jesus?  It is because it is such an important ‘ingredient’ in God’s Kingdom.  We need to remember that the Bible is not an ordinary book.  It begins with a miracle – the creation.  So the miracle of the resurrection is the Bible’s ‘normal.’

#  There is a thread throughout Scripture that reminds us that the resurrection is vital.

Without it there cannot be eternal life with the Bridegroom, Jesus.  For example,  Adam and Eve were evicted from the garden of Eden, but God promised that He will make a way to get people back into the garden of Eden.  That Garden will be the whole new earth.  Many billions of people who will be part of the Bride of Christ, will live there eternally.  The resurrection is absolutely necessary for that to happen.

#  More reminders of the resurrection

  • Abraham believed that God could bring Isaac back to life. 1  ‘Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead….’ 2
  • Job said, ‘I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth….  I myself will see Him with my own eyes.’ 3
  • Psalm 16:9-10 says, ‘…you will not abandon me [the Messiah, Jesus] to the grave, nor will your holy one see decay.’
  • Daniel prophesied the resurrection, ‘Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to everlasting contempt..’ 4
  • Isaiah 53:10-12 predicted that the resurrection of Jesus Christ would resound around the world: God accepted the payment of sin by His Son Jesus and showed it when He raised Jesus from the dead.  ‘He is the …first-born from among the dead.’ 
  • That is what Peter reminded the people about in his speech after they were baptised by the Holy Spirit, ‘But God raised Him from the dead, freeing Him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on Him.’  6

#  Is there proof that Jesus rose from the dead?

The spread of the Gospel around the globe since the time of the resurrection is the proof.  The Holy Spirit works in men to bring the glad tidings of Jesus’ resurrection throughout the world.  ‘We tell you the good news:  What God promised our fathers He has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus.’  7

Conclusion

We thank and glorify the Father and the Holy Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead. 8

References

  1. Genesis 22:1-14
  2. Hebrews11:17-19
  3. Job 19:25-27
  4. Daniel 12:2
  5. Colossians 1:18
  6. Acts 2:24
  7. Acts 13:32
  8. Romans 1:4; Ephesians 1:19-20
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