"What was the central truth of the early apostlesí preaching? What was the stimulus to the miraculous growth of the early church? What was the energizing force which spread the gospel across the face of the earth? The answer to all these questions is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. " He is risen! " was the victorious cry of the early Christians, and they spread it to the ends of the earth.
Unless we accept what the scriptures teach about the resurrection, the entire
Christian message virtually disintegrates. The whole preaching thrust of the
apostolic age was based upon the fact one quiet morning in an obscure garden man
had vanquished his most feared enemy, the vaunted dark angel of death. Satan had
defeated the first Adam in a garden ages before, and with his victory there
commenced the reign of sin and death over mankind. But now in Godís appointed
time and plan Satan met the last Adam in still another garden, and death was
"swallowed up in victory" (I Cor. 15: 54)
Dr. Walter Martin - Essential Christianity, page 63
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is absolutely crucial for the Christian. That is why apostle Paul wrote an entire chapter on the subject of the resurrection in 1 Corinthian 15, because without it our faith is useless and we are still in our sins. (1 Cor. 15:14,17) The bodily resurrection of our Lord divides the counterfeit Christian cults, world religions with genuine Christianity. The Jehovahís Witnesses and the other cults, the world religions deny the bodily resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. If you remove Charles Taze Russell (Founder) from Jehovahís Witness, they still remain. Remove Mohammed from Islam, and Islam remains. Remove Buddha from Buddhism, and Buddhism remains. But remove Christ Jesus from Christianity, then there will be no Christianity. Christianity is centered on the person of Jesus Christ, his life, character, death and the resurrection, but all other religions focus on the teachings of the teacher and not on the teacher. In Christianity we donít have a dead savior but a living savior who has conquered death.
Now to understand the resurrection correctly we need to understand the life
of Christ in two states; the state of humiliation and the state of
exaltation. The resurrection becomes glorious only when we first understand
his humility. The humility of Christ began at birth, as he was born in a manger,
then continued throughout his life until he faced a humiliating punishment and
death, the Lord of the Universe was nailed between two thieves.
Letís turn our Bibles to Philippians 2:6-11.
This refers to the incarnation of Christ, leaving his divine nature behind and taking a human nature. (John 1:1, 14) He was subject to the laws of human nature, human weakness, temptation, fatigue, age, and suffering. The humility of Christ is found in verse 6-8. Jesus said, "Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted." (Mat.23:11) He left his infinite heavenly glory, and chose to be born in a manger. He left his infinite holiness and chose to come to a wicked world to live with sinners, he left his kingship and chose to become a servant, in heaven he is worshipped by angels on earth he washed the feet of the disciples, he left his crown to be crucified to a wooden cross. Although he was rich, he became poor for us.
In Galatians 4:4 it says that Christ was born under the law. He was subject to the demands of the law on our behalf as we have broken the law, Christ came to fulfill the law. (Mat. 5:17)
As God is the judge of the Universe, he will not compromise with sinners, as we have all been disobedient to Him by becoming law breakers, we are legally responsible to God, we are under a curse with the penalty of Godís wrath. But Christ became legally responsible for our sins, he was subject to the curse and penalty of the law and death on our behalf.
Three Days in The Tomb (Between verse 8 and 9 are three days)
This is the period of tension, as Jesus said that he will rise after three days, will he or not? If not, he is a liar, a crazy man to give his life to be crucified. If he was not going to be raised from the dead as he predicted, then we cannot trust in him, as he lied to us. Then we cannot believe in his teachings, his healing, his miracles. This is the period of frustration and tension for the disciples. They were scared, frightened and their hope of the messiah has ended? Jesus said that he came to pay a ransom. (Mark 10:45) We were slaves to sin, and separated from God. We owe God a debt due to our sins. Jesus came to pay a ransom to the Father so we will be delivered from the bondage of sin and the debt we owed to God will be paid fully. On the Cross the entire debt was upon the shoulders of Christ, the whole weight of sins was upon him. His body was torn with torture, in agony and pain he suffered for our sins on the cross. The price was paid fully for our sins, but will the Father accept the ransom? The entire world hangs trembling in the balance.
Verse 9, resurrection and ascension
"There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightening, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men." (Mat.28:2-4) YES! He is risen from the dead!!! The resurrection proved that the Father accepted the ransom and we have been set free from the bondage of sin and death. And now we too have become sons of God, before we were separated from God as we were disobedient to him, but now he has become our Father and our God.
Let us turn to John chapter 20 to see the wealth of His resurrection. In verse 1-2 we see the empty tomb and the normal reaction of Mary. Then in verse 3-9 we see the excitement of John and Peter and eventually believing of this great event, but still unable to comprehend the resurrection of the Lord. In verse 10-12 we see Mary still crying as she thought someone has taken the body of Jesus. Now we will begin from verse 13, as the angels asked Mary, "Why are you crying?" And Maryís response was, "They have taken my Lord away, and I donít know where they have put them." It is interesting to note here that Mary acknowledged Jesus as her Lord, and had a great love for Jesus. At this moment Jesus stepped in but she did not recognize him, she thought it was the gardener speaking to her. (verse 14-15) The reason why she did not recognize him, is easy to explain as we should read the whole context, as it says in verse one she went to the tomb while it was still dark.
But when Jesus called her by name, "Mary" she recognize that familiar voice, how many times Jesus called her by name as your name is the sweetest sound to your ears, and when the Lord calls you by name, it is different than anybody else. Let us read the second part of verse 17, as Jesus said, "Ö..Go instead to my brothers and tell them, I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God."
Let me expound this scripture as we would greatly treasure the meaning of what the Lord said. In the New Testament Jesus is called the only begotten Son, the one and only Son. We were alienated from the Father, and because of our sins we were hostile towards God. (Romans 8:7) But Jesus came to reconcile us back to the Father. He took the great punishment for our sins and now the sinner who will trust in the righteousness of Jesus is reconciled back to the Father.
Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies it produces many seeds." (John 12:24) The only begotten kernel died, and in the resurrection the only begotten kernel became the first begotten kernel, (First born) and from that kernel sprung many other kernels.. In Hebrews 2:9-10 reads, "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. In bringing many sons to gloryÖ" Before we all fell short of His glory, (Romans 3:23) and now we are brought back to His glory through Jesus Christ. Thatís why Jesus told Mary, "Ö I am returning to your Father.." "Öyour God.." Through the resurrection of Jesus, God became very personal to us as we are reconciled back to the Father. By His resurrection many brothers have been brought into Godís family. ( Jesus told Mary, "Go to my brothers..") Now Jesus is not ashamed to call us brothers. (Hebrews 2:11)
The first miracle of Jesus is that he converted water into wine. That is a picture of sinners like prostitutes, murderers, tax collectors, thieves are converted to saints. Resurrection is a miracle, and a sinner becoming a saint is a living miracle, it happens as our savior is not dead, he is a live!
"I have good news for you, I have read the end of the book, and we
Dr. Walter Martin
Some Theological Insights Of The Resurrection.
Glorified Human Body
His identification was the same as the disciples were able to recognize him with nail prints on his hands, he appeared to Thomas after the resurrection and said, "Put your finger here; see my hands, reach out your hands and put it into my sidesÖ" (John 20:27)
He had a heavenly body, but still human. It is a glorified human body, not subject to weakness, aging, pain or death. He was not subject to the laws of nature as he could eat human food when ever he wants, appear and disappear at his own will.
There were others who died and was raise to life, like Lazarus, but Lazarus did not have a heavenly body so he died again.
Divine Act Of The Trinity
In the resurrection of Christ, all three persons of the Godhead was involved.
The Father - "God raised this Jesus to life.." (Acts 2:32)
The Son- "Ö.I lay down my life-only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord, I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up againÖ" (John 10:17-18)
The Holy Spirit - " And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in youÖ." (Romans 8:11)
Accomplished The Will Of The Father
In his resurrection, he put a stamp of approval in his work, as he fully met the demands of the law.
Confirmed That We Are Forgiven
If not for the resurrection we would be still in our sins. "And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins." (1 Cor. 15:17)
Confirmed Our Justification
In his death, he paid the penalty for our sins and in his resurrection he confirmed his righteousness that was imputed upon us. Our sins were charged to Christís account, and Christís righteousness was charged to our account and we became righteous through Christ. " but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness - for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead." (Romans 4:25)
Insures Our Regeneration
"Praise be to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy, he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." (1 Peter 1:3)
Also see Romans 6:4, 8:11
The Power Of Death Destroyed
"Death has been swallowed up in victory."
"Where O death, is your victory? Where O death is your sting?" (1 Cor. 15:54-55)
Gives Assurance To The Christian
We are confident that Christís work was completed for our salvation. His resurrection assures us, his power to save us from sin and death. He is the Lord of the Universe that at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.