Sunday, April 13, 2014

SIX FACTS ABOUT THE RESURRECTION


This is not a complete list of every fact about the resurrection of Christ that is important, but it is a list of six important facts that we should know and upon which we should meditate.

First, the resurrection of Christ is an important part of the gospel. Paul wrote:

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you-unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas (Peter), then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. (1 Corinthians 15:1-9)

Paul said the resurrection was part of the gospel he preached and it was of first importance. It is not a secondary doctrine. It is primary and essential. It is, therefore, part of what we must believe to be saved. Some people today say you can be a Christian, you can be saved, and not believe in the the bodily resurrection of Christ. That is not what the Bible says. Paul wrote, in Romans 10:9-10, “...if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart hat God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.”

Second, the Bible presents the resurrection as fact, not myth or symbol. Since we believe the Bible is the inspired and inerrant word of God, we must believe that Jesus was raised from the dead.

Matthew 28 records the two women named Mary seeing the empty tomb (6) and the risen savior (9). They worshiped him. The disciples saw him and worshipped him. (17) That group would include Matthew, who wrote the book.

Mark 16 also records the two women seeing the empty tomb. (Mark 16:1-8) Mark is commonly believed to record the story as told by Peter, who saw the risen Lord first hand and spoke to these very women when they related their story.

Luke diligently researched the matter and wrote in Luke 24 that the women found the tomb empty (1-7), that Peter saw the empty tomb and grave clothes (12) and that Jesus appeared to the disciples in bodily form (36-42).

John wrote that Mary Magdalene found the tomb empty (20:1), that Peter and John saw the empty tomb and the grave clothes (3-8). Mary also saw the risen Lord (14-17). John also recorded jesus‘ appearance to the disciples in the locked room. (19)

In Acts 1, Luke recorded the appearance of Jesus to the disciples. (3) Luke also recorded Peter’s first sermon, in which he declares Christ’s resurrection. (2:24, 32) Acts 7 records Stephen’s vision of the risen Lord Jesus standing at the right hand of God while Stephen was toned to death. (7:55) In Acts 9, Luke recorded Paul’s confrontation with the risen Lord Jesus. Revelation presents Jesus as reigning in heaven.

Paul, in Romans 4:24-25 wrote “...It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.”

1 Corinthians 15 tells us Christ was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures (3) and that he appeared to more than 500 people, most of whom were still living when Paul wrote the book. (6)

Colossians 2:12 refers to Christ as the one God the Father raised from the dead. This is not an exhaustive list, but a representative list that shows that the apostles and early believers all saw the resurrection as a historical fact witnessed by many who were alive and could be questioned. The New Testament never presents the resurrection as other than fact.

Third, the resurrection proves the deity of Christ. Romans 1:4 says that Jesus was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead. In his sermon in Acts 2, Peter preached that it was not possible for death and the grave to hold the divine Son of God. (Acts 2:22-24)

Fourth, the resurrection of Jesus assures us of our justification. Paul wrote, “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins” (I Cor. 15:17). Romans 4:25 tells us Jesus was raised for our justification. Jesus’ death on the cross paid for our sins and accomplished our justification. The resurrection shows that the Father accepted the sacrifice of Christ for our sins. Therefore, we know that our sins were imputed to Christ, who paid for them, and Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us. The resurrection did not accomplish our justification. It assures us of our justification. By resurrecting Jesus, God the father declared that he accepted Christ’s atoning sacrifice for our sins.

Fifth, the resurrection of Christ paves the way for our resurrection. 1 Corinthians 15:17-22 says
“And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in our sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, b a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.”

Sixth, the resurrection means we serve a Lord and Savior who is alive in heaven and interceding for us. Hebrews 7:25 says Jesus always lives to make intercession for us. Romans 8:34 says Jesus is at the right hand of God interceding for us. Your Lord did not teach then die and leave nothing but a memory. Your Lord did not go away and leave you on your own. Your Lord rose from the grave, ascended to heaven, sat down and the right hand of the Father, and intercedes for you every day in every struggle you endure.

The resurrection is true, the resurrection is important, the resurrection is gospel, it is proof of the deity of Christ, the resurrection is assurance of justification, and the resurrection means Christ intercedes for us continuously.

The resurrection is cause for joy. Meditate on it this week and rejoice that you serve a living savior.  

He is risen!
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