Notes on the Resurrection of Jesus

The topic today is one of the most important teachings of the whole Bible.  Certainly the creation of the world as a beginning point, the incarnation of Jesus as the eternal Son becoming flesh and His death on the cross, paying the price for judgment on our sins, and His promise to one day re-enter history as the Son returns in glory are equally important.  But the cornerstone has always been the historical fact, the inescapable truth that Jesus arose from the dead after being dead three days. 

In 1 Cor. 15:17 Paul says, “. . . if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile, you are still in your sins.”  In the same vein a fellow missionary from Singapore said, “If Christ was not raised, there are no Christians; there is nothing to believe.”

The resurrection is the center point of the Christian faith; the central facet around which the truth of that faith has always revolved.  Acts 17:3 says of the Christians of that 1st century, they went about “explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead.”  Paul adds, “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ.”  Such is the case – and the pressing need – in the 21st C. as well.  The gospel message of the NT was not in teaching and good works, but the truth: Jesus died and rose again!

1. The claims of Jesus that He would rise from the dead

Mt. 12:38; 16:21; 17:9,22-23; 20:18-19; 26:32; 27:63;
Mark 8:31; 9:9-10, 31-32; 10:33-34; 14:28, 58;
Luke 9:22
John 2:19-22

A. Many times when Jesus spoke of His death, He also mentioned His resurrection.
B. Jesus based the truthfulness of His claim on His rising from the dead.
C. No other religion founder or teacher has dared to base his teaching on such an
 outrageous claim that he would rise from the dead.
D. The disciples, though hearing Him numerous times did not understand until He
 actually arose (and even then had a hard time!). Mark 9:10, 32.  Would you?

2. The circumstances surrounding the death and the tomb, the pre-resurrection  scene

A. Jesus was dead   Mark 15:37; Luke 23:46; John 19:30

(1). Facts of death by crucifixion

(a) The scourging.  Eusebius (3rd C. AD) wrote that many victims did not even live through this but died before being crucified.  “The bodies of those about to be crucified were laid open (the whips had pieces of bone or metal in the end to open the back) so that the veins and arteries were literally visible.”  We note that some had a measure (?) of mercy and stopped the whipping at 39 strokes (one short of the required 40).  Mt. 27:26; Mk. 15:15; John 19:1

(b) Crucifixion.  This form of execution was designed to cause maximum pain in the head, the nerve endings ‘set afire’, the scourging sending shock waves throughout the whole body, high fever exaggerating terrible thirst, swelling around nail puncture holes, blood collecting in brain and stomach, despair and shame at being hung naked.  The victims could only long to die quickly, but some lasted for up to two or three days.

(2). Testimony of soldiers experienced in this form of death

(a) The soldiers saw no need to break his legs (a common practice  to hasten death) Jesus was dead already   John 19:33

(b) One, to make sure he was dead pierced his chest showing that  Jesus was already dead.

(3). Pilate wanted to make it absolutely certain before he gave the body away    Mark 15:44-45

B. The body and the tomb

(1). Joseph and Nicodemus ask for the body   Lk. 23:53; Jn. 19:33 
Think about taking a body off a cross.  Would they notice signs of life?

(2). The grave cloth and laying the body in the tomb

(a) Wilbur Smith, speaking of his burial, says “we know more about
Jesus burial than that of any ancient figure, be they from the OT, from Egypt or Babylon, Greece or Rome”

(b) Wrapping the body.  The Jewish practice was to start at the feet
and wind the cloth around and around, putting nearly 100 pounds of spices as they did so.  These spices would soon harden into cement like substance making the body a mummy.

(c) The tomb was probably a prepared cave in the garden of
Joseph, likely a rich man.  It was not likely to have been one grave out of many in a large cemetery; also it may have been close to where Jesus had died.  We don’t know.

(d) The women who perhaps saw him die, followed the procession
to the garden, watched the process and saw them put the body in the tomb with a cloth placed over the face – end!

(3). The stone

(a) Graves had to be protected lest thieves or wild animals break
into them.  A common way was to have a large rock ready to roll down in front of the grave, usually into a trench that would make it difficult to roll away. 

(b) One ancient text adds a note to Mark 15:46 saying it would take
20 men to remove such a stone.  Later, the women would worry about that and how to move it.

(4). The Governor’s seal   Mt. 27:66   At the request of the Jews, Pilate  ordered the government seal be placed on the tomb.

 (5). Pilate further ordered a detail of soldiers assigned to guard the
seal on the grave of a dead man (that is almost laughable, isn’t it?)  One of these soldiers was to be facing the seal at all times.  For one of them or the group to go to sleep would bring punishment of immediate death.  Roman writings testify to just such a judgment.

C. The discouraged and fearful disciples

(1), The disciples were without hope   Luke 24:17

(2). They were afraid

(a) They were when Jesus died   Mt. 26:56; Mark 14:50

(b) Even after the first rays of resurrection, they were afraid.  John  20:19

(3) They were psychologically devastated with absolutely no motivation to
tell anyone about what had happened.  There was nothing to tell, certainly no good news.  Our leader was crucified – that’s it, end of story.  (See the first chapter of Acts for their changed demeanor and hope.)

3. The post-resurrection scene

A. The empty tomb

(1)  Everyone soon knew that the tomb was empty – enemies, Pharisees,
Romans as well as the disciples.  So the question had to be asked, “Why?”  To try to deny it with a bare, feeble comment, “He’s still there” would not do.

(2) Disproving the cry of resurrection should have been easy.  The tomb was
perhaps just outside the city, no more than an hour’s journey.  Perhaps some did go out to look, but had to come back with the same answer, ‘the tomb is empty!’

(3) The women had seen Joseph bury His body a short 72 hours previously.   Surely they did not forget where the tomb was and go to the wrong place.  After how many years (not hours) and you can still walk right up
 to the very spot where your parents are buried, right?!

B. The stone

 (1) This stone was quite large (Mt. 27:60; Mk. 16:3-4) so as to deter thieves
from breaking into the grave in search of jewels or other valuables.

(2) The women remembered this and were concerned (Mt 28:2; Mk. 16:3)

C. The grave clothes

(1) Two things of note.  First the strips of cloth used to wind the body was
still there.  Robbers or disciples, for that matter would not take the body and leave the cloth behind.  It had probably begun to harden by then and getting the body out of the wound up cloth would have been impossible.

(2) The special cloth used to cover the face of the corpse was folded and
lying off to the side.  Not a crime scene of robbers in a hurry.

 
D. The Roman seal and the guards

 (1) The stone moved, the seal was broken and that was a crime punishable
by death – to anyone who defaced it and certain death for those guarding that seal as well.

(2) Knowing they were in deep trouble, they went to the religious leaders –
not to find the body, but to concoct a fantastic story of how the disciples came to steal his body while they slept.  (Remember, sleeping on duty was a capital offense.)  And besides, if they were asleep, how could they know who stole the body or what happened.  Further, people do not need to be bribed to tell the truth!  (Mt. 28:11-15)

E. The resurrection appearances

 (1) Mary Magdalene,   John 20:14; Mark 16:9-11
 (2) Two women outside the tomb,   Mt 28:9-10
 (3) Peter   Luke 24:34, 1 Cor. 15:5
 (4) Two disciples on the road to Emmaus,   Luke 24:13-33
 (5) The disciples without Thomas,   John 20:19-24
 (6) The disciples with Thomas,   John 20:26-29
 (7) Seven disciples on the shore of Galilee,   John 21:1-23
 (8) More than 500,   1 Cor. 15:6
 (9) James,   1 Cor. 15:7
 (10) Eleven disciples,   Matt. 28:16-20; Luke 24:33-52
 (11) At the time of His ascension,   Acts 1:3-12

Reason to Believe

While we continue to think on the wonder of the incarnation of Jesus – God becoming a man, the God-Man, we also look to the other end of that marvelous life to find every reason to believe Him.

1. Prerequisite:   The Stubborn Fact of Jesus’ death

 1. The straight forward narrative of Jesus’ death
 2. The replacement theory (another went to the cross instead of Jesus) will not stand the examination.
 3. The swoon theory fails for the same reason.
 4. The theory that the scene was influenced by drugs also fails
 5. Jesus was dead!  The soldiers saw to it; the witnesses believed it; the disciples went into a tail-spin of despair and hopelessness because “He was dead!”
 6. Sympathetic followers removed his body, prepared and buried that body

2.   The Amazing Fact of the Resurrection

 1. Jesus prophesied His own resurrection
 2. The stone was rolled away to let others in and see
 3. There was no body
 4. Yet the grave clothes were there
 5. The soldiers were bribed to say (on pain of death) that they were asleep
 6. The psychological transformation of the disciples could not be built on a falsehood.
 7. A false rumor was spread about that the disciples stole the body
 8. He was seen by many different people at various times (one time by over 500!)  A little to difficult  to blame this on hallucinogenic drugs.
 9. The whole fabric of the disciples’ message was built on truth and could not be sustained by a foundation of lies.

3. The Value of the Resurrection

1. The resurrection proves that Jesus is indeed the Son of God, Rom. 1:3-4.
2. The resurrection is the bedrock foundation of the Church, Eph. 1:20-22.
3. The resurrection is the foundation for the authority given to Jesus,  Mt. 28:18
4. It is related to the truth of victory over death,  Rev. 1:17-18; Rom. 6:9
5. The resurrection gives us confidence in our justification,  Rom. 4:25; 5:10; 8:34
6. Through the resurrection we have new birth into a living hope,  1 Pet. 1:3
7. It is the foundation of Christian victory,  Rom. 6:10; Eph 2:4-10; Phil. 3:10; Col.  3:1-4
8. It provides confident assurance in our own bodily resurrection,  Rom. 810-11
9. The resurrection is one of the foundation stones of our preaching,  1 Cor. 15:14
10. It is instrumental in our forgiveness,  1 Cor. 15:17
11. If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain, empty,  1. Cor. 15:17
12. If Christ be not raised, you are still in your sin,  1 Cor. 15:17
13. If Christ be not raised, those who have died have perished,  1 Cor. 15:18
14.  It is the cornerstone of certainty for our whole faith,  1 Cor. 15:17

Atheist Day in America

April 1, 2009

The latest atheistic thrust of America (similar to the current adds on London’s buses) is “You believe God does not exist?  You are not alone.”

What an uneventful, pointless statement.  So . . .  you are not alone, Mr/Ms Unbeliever, what good does that do you or any of your agreeable friends?  You are still an unbeliever and you have not addressed the wisdom, or the rightness or wrongness of that statement one whit.

America has perhaps agreed that you ‘not alone’ unbelievers should have your day as most believers in God have at least a day to celebrate their faith.  Christians have Christmas and Easter, Buddhists (who are in reality atheist) celebrate the birth/death/enlightenment of the Buddha, Muslims celebrate their month of lent, Jewish folks have Passover, etc. and atheists have April 1, April Fools’ Day.  So congratulations!  You are not alone on your day. 

The Christian Bible confirms your faith with these words: “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’.”  This might be interpreted in the following ways (because in Hebrew the words ‘there is’ is not there):

(1)  ‘The fool says in his heart, NO GOD’ meaning what the usual atheist blabber is, that there is no God around (though He might be hiding in some place that they have failed to look).  There are quite a few, led by Richard Dawkins and others with you so it is true that you are not alone.

(2)  ‘The fool says in his heart, NO God!’ meaning there may be a God or god or gods somewhere but they/it certainly has no authority or control over me.  In other words they may be agnostic in their belief, but they are under the thumb of no one or nothing but themselves.  There are many in this practical state, so again it is true, you, you fool, are not alone.

(3)  ‘The fool says in his heart, NO . . . GOD, please, no!’  meaning the response of many when they find out it is appointed unto mankind once to die, after that the judgment.  Though many of you are not alone in that condition now, in that day you will be terribly alone – absolutely no one will stand with you as you face the God of the universe.  You fool, you will be alone!

Pascal’s wager is still the best option.  If you, Mr Atheist and your friends, are right, I have lost nothing by ordering my life by a faith in, as you put it, the non-existent one. 

If on the other hand, I am right in my faith, you have lost everything. You are and will be starkly, absolutely alone as you stand before the God of the universe! 

I hope and pray that you will not be among those lonely fools, dear reader!

Sometimes we try to gather up all that is into a comprehensive thing called a worldview.  The more we know about the universe we live in, the more awesome – and necessary – is our struggle to think this through.  I wrote about ‘probable’ God earlier and wish to start there for some who are not yet sure they want accept the premise of God, especially the Bible’s God.

But first, consider the alternatives to ‘probable’ God

• Pantheism – everything is god
• Pan-in-theism – everything is in god or god is in everything.
• Polytheism – there are so many gods (millions?), they negate one another.
• New Age mysticism/spirituality – wishful thinking with feet planted firmly in mid-air.
• Atheism/materialism – what we see is all we got; god is off the table, out of the market place, confined (if he or it exists) to mystical personal feelings of the heart.
• Agnosticism – we’ll just play dumb, “I don’t know, maybe yes, maybe no.”

All these worldviews (1) are versions like ‘new age’ – no foundation, feet planted firmly in mid-air and in which an unconscious blind fate is elevated to the throne of the universe; (2) provide a multitude of ways to avoid commitment.  It is no wonder our country and our world is unable to even think morally or ethically upright, let alone find a solid foundation upon which to stand.  (3) These views erase the boundaries between heaven and earth, matter and spirit, soul and body, man and animal, intellect and will, time and eternity, Creator and creature, being and nonbeing.  They deny the concept of a definite beginning, the existence of a conscious purpose, the hope of finding any ultimate destiny for the existence of the world and its history.

Against all of the above there stands a Christian worldview which is first and foremost a creation-based worldview.  I have taken notes from H. Bavinck, “Reformed Dogmatics,” vol. 2, p. 425f. 

From the beginning heaven and earth have been distinct, a division between being and nonbeing; there is a division between matter and spirit, between man and animal, between time and eternity, between Creator and creature.  There is a profound distinctness between sun moon, stars; between plants and plants, animals, and humans.  Yet in that diversity, there is also a superlative kind of unity.  The foundation of both diversity and unity is in God.  It is He who created all things in accordance with his unsearchable wisdom.

Here is a unity that does not destroy but rather maintains diversity, and a diversity that does not come at the expense of unity, but rather unfolds it in its riches.  This world can metaphorically be called an organism, in which all the parts are connected with each other and influence each other reciprocally.  Heaven and earth, Creator and creature, man and animal and plant, time and eternity, truth and life, spirit and material, state and church, family and society, though they are distinct are not separated.  There is a wide range of connections between them, a spiritual or ethical bond that holds all together in unity.

As a result of this worldview, Christianity has overcome both the contempt of nature and its deification.  The Christian looks at the world and history and observe s the unfathomability of the ways of God and the unsearchability of his judgments; he does not despair, for all things are subject to the government of an omnipotent God and a gracious Father who will make all things work together for good to those who believe and love Him.

We are born that we should know the Maker of the world, the purpose of that world and also know ourselves as God knows us.  With this worldview, we are on the path to knowing the God who not only is Maker, but also Savior and Redeemer, a faith that issues in immortality.

See http://answersingenesis.org , click on worldview

Probably God!

February 20, 2009

A recent news item announced an evangelistic atheist thrust in London.  Some 800 buses carried advertising blurps on the grand thought that folks can now “stop worrying and enjoy your life” because “There’s probably no God.”  This is the brain child of Ariane Sherine, and supported by none other than the infamous atheist Richard Dawkins.

I guess we can see who they are targeting, since the spell god with a capital G.  Of course, they couldn’t use a small “g” because they know in London (and in America), as is known in India, that there are literally thousands, if not millions of ‘gods.’  So, they are not after all those gods, but only God.

What should we say to them?

It was wise of them to say ‘there’s probably. . . .’  Honesty demands agnosticism here rather than atheism, because they haven’t checked in Argentina where “Probable God” may be alive and well, hiding among the slum dwellers in Buenos Aires.   The point being, they have not searched everywhere in the universe for Him. 

And, to be fair, we must all say at this point ‘probably’ we can take their point.  So a believing Christian’s statement would be, ‘There’s probably a God; trust Him, stop worrying and live a full abundant life.’

Why say ‘There probably is a God’?  As Alister McGrath’s “Glimpsing the Face of God”, might put it, ’Probable God’ appeals to the emotion, to the senses, to the imagination and to the mind. Therefore, lets explore this a bit further and suggest three areas where ‘Probable God’ meets major difficulties of the 21st Century.

First, we need an answer for an era of scientific endeavor which in all its exciting discovery of the items in our universe, it never gets outside the box.  How sad to live in a room where we measure the size of the nails, test the paint on the walls, clean the carpet and never consider walking through the door (faith) to see what is outside the box.  We never give a single thought to how the box (room) got there, even though common sense tells us our room didn’t happen as a result of a long vanished tornado!  Augustine described it as ‘faith in search of understanding.’

Genesis one answers three basic questions: (1) Why is there something rather than nothing? (2) How did animate things (plants, animals) arise from a totally inanimate situation and (3) How did the uniqueness, the specialness of the human race arise?  In three places, Genesis 1 uses the word ‘bara’ (create), a word used in the Bible only of God (1:1, 21, 27), to answer these questions.  God created . . . So we say to our atheist friends, “Probable God created the world, from outside the box.”

Second, for an age demanding historical certitude, faith leads us to the historical resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.  Before our postmodern world totally eradicates history in favor of wishful thinking utopia, we must consider all the options of that historical fact.  The empty tomb, the lame excuse of Roman soldiers guarding Him, the Muslim wrong-headed idea that Jesus did not die – was it someone else on that cross or perhaps he was drugged(?) and many other possibilities have been explored, but none have been able to displace that historical fact.  Faith seeking understanding agrees with the position of faith, “Probable God raised him from the dead.”  If that is true, my faith leads to abundant life which goes beyond death!

Third, in a time of disappearing ethical and moral standards, by faith we read that there is a righteous judgment to come.  It is appointed to all men once to die and after that, judgment!  My friend Omar Garcia (click here to read his blog) reminds us that we will not know about that until we die and then it will be too late.  Pascal’s wager is not worth the taking.  Eternity is a rather long time and I don’t want to chance missing heaven.  And . . . “Probable God will be the judge!”

So, Mr. Dawkins and company, that’s really what you don’t want, isn’t it, Sir?  You can’t stand the thought of someone being over you and promising judgment on every one of us.

Why Trust Jesus, Part II

December 26, 2008

Reason to Believe

The majestic Jesus Christ, the historical person by which all history is divided into B.C. and A. D. (knowing those dates to be a few years off) stands as the divine-human, the God-Man who came into the world to die for the sins of His people.  We will either (1) turn to Him finding eternal life, or for those who already believe, (2) we will grow in both knowledge and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Pet.3:18).  The exalted place of Jesus Christ is to you my believing reader, a given.  But, dear questioning or unbelieving friend, it is crucial  – a matter of eternal life or death – for the world at large which includes, among others in addition to the great religions of the world:

• Postmodernists (truth is whatever you want it to be)
• Pluralists (all religions are equally good, take your pick)
• New Age thinking (talk about the ‘christ-idea’, not about Jesus of Nazareth or His cross)
• Tolerance (the new definition, “you can’t negatively criticize another’s faith.”
• Loss of absolutes – esp. truth (the ‘its-true-for-me’ syndrome)
• Permissive individualism (whatever makes you happy)

Usually, the study of Jesus Christ is divided into two parts, (1) the Person of Christ and (2) the Work of Christ.  In this brief study, we are concerned with the uniqueness of Christ’s death which accomplished our salvation.  (The application of this salvation occurs when we by faith trust God to do as he has promised and saves us in our particular historical time and space situation). 

Focus on the work of Christ for our benefit narrows down to focus on the cross of Christ.  The incarnation (conception at Nazareth, birth in Bethlehem; His teachings, His miracles, His resurrection are all important and function as the ‘Christ event,’ but the watershed is the cross (Gal. 6:14).  We begin to see the complexity of the cross as soon as we list words commonly used to explain it, such as atonement, expiation, propitiation, purchase, redemption, ransom, mediation, reconciliation, etc., (look these words up in a good Bible dictionary or encyclopedia) but three important words related to the cross in the Bible stand out and guide our interpretation of the meaning of the cross:

1. Satisfaction
Anselm (@1073) wrote a book entitled “Why Did God Become Man?” (Cur Deus Homo?)  He defined sin as “an infinite offense by man against God’s honor.”  This was the exact opposite of the French atheistic philosopher Voltaire’s famous statement, “God will pardon; that’s his business!”  Anselm said anyone who imagines that God can simply forgive us, “has not yet considered what a heavy weight sin is!”  Martin Luther said,
“Since all of us, born in sin and God’s enemies, have earned nothing but eternal wrath and hell so that everything we are and can do is damned, and there is no help or way of getting out of this predicament . . . therefore another man had to step into our place, namely Jesus Christ, God and man, and had to render satisfaction and make payment for sin through his suffering and death.” Quoted in Boice, Whatever happened to the Gospel of Grace? p. 95.
Consider these verses:  Isa. 53:10; 59:16; Mk. 10:45; Rom. 3:25-26; Gal. 3:13; 1 Pet. 1:18-19

2. Sacrifice
John’s opening words to the disciples make it clear that he understood Jesus to be God’s sacrifice, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” Jn. 1:29; Rev. 5:6. Other verses that point to the unique sacrifice of the Son of God Himself, Isa. 53:7; 1 Pet 1:19.

3. Substitution
Apart from the truth of substitution, it makes no sense to talk of the love of God at the cross.  Two things must be true for us to speak of God’s love in relation to the cross.  First, we must understand that the activity there is something undergone by God Himself – not some creature volunteering to attempt the impossible task of paying for our sin.  God Himself!  And second, He must be doing something for mankind’s benefit, that is, dying in the place of sinful humanity.  Some verses to consider include:  Isa. 53:6 (the whole chapter!); Matt. 20:28; 2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Pet. 3:18.  Some theologians feel it sufficient to believe that Jesus is setting for us the moral example of just how far love may have to go for others.  Jesus is our example (1 Pet. 2:21), but He is much more than that.  He is our substitute, praise His Name!  See Mark 10:45 where at the end of he verse He says, He came to serve and “to give His life as a ransom for many.”  The preposition ‘for’ there is, in the Greek anti, which is definitely a preposition of substitution.

Conclusion:

In Deuteronomy 4:32, 34 Moses asks concerning the deliverance from Egypt via the Red Sea,
“Has anything so great as this ever happened, or has anything like it ever been heard of? . . . Has any god ever tried to take for himself one nation out of another nation, by testings, by miraculous signs and wonders, by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, or by great and awesome deeds, like all the things the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your very eyes?”

So we might ask of the whole, wonderful ‘Christ event’, has any god ever done what has been done in the incarnation, the death and resurrection of our God for our sakes?  What imagined god of our own creation could ever accomplish that of which Paul sings in Phil. 2:6-11:

“(Christ Jesus) Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross.  Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 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.”

Buddhism certainly has no such truth; Hinduism has mythological stories, but fails to root them in history or reality; Islam would never dare say such a thing about their God Allah; nor does New Age teaching, Taoism, animism, or any other religious teaching on earth.

Christ alone is sufficient for such a salvation, bearing the penalty of our sin and giving us in exchange His righteousness.  “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Trust in the only One qualified and capable of saving you from your sin.

Why Trust Jesus?

December 23, 2008

Reason to Believe

While we continue to think on the wonder of the incarnation of Jesus – God becoming a man, the God-Man, we also look to the other end of that marvelous life to find every reason to believe Him.

1. Prerequisite:   The Stubborn Fact of Jesus’ death

 1. The straight forward narrative of Jesus’ death
 2. The replacement theory (another went to the cross instead of Jesus) will not
  stand the examination.
 3. The swoon theory fails for the same reason.
 4. The theory that the scene was influenced by drugs also fails
 5. Jesus was dead!  The soldiers saw to it; the witnesses believed it; the disciples
  went into a tail-spin of despair and hopelessness because “He was dead!”
 6. Sympathetic followers removed his body, prepared and buried that body

2.   The Amazing Fact of the Resurrection

 1. Jesus prophesied His own resurrection
 2. The stone was rolled away to let others in and see
 3. There was no body
 4. Yet the grave clothes were there
 5. The soldiers were bribed to say (on pain of death) that they were asleep
 6. The psychological transformation of the disciples could not be built on a
  falsehood.
 7. A false rumor was spread about that the disciples stole the body
 8. He was seen by many different people at various times (one time by over 500!)  A little to
  difficult  to blame this on hallucinogenic drugs.
 9. The whole fabric of the disciples’ message was built on truth and could not be sustained
  by a foundation of lies.

2. The Value of the Resurrection

 1. The resurrection proves that Jesus is indeed the Son of God, Rom. 1:3-4.
2. The resurrection is the bedrock foundation of the Church, Eph. 1:20-22.
3. The resurrection is the foundation for the authority given to Jesus,  Mt. 28:18
4. It is related to the truth of victory over death,  Rev. 1:17-18; Rom. 6:9
5. The resurrection gives us confidence in our justification,  Rom. 4:25; 5:10; 8:34
6. Through the resurrection we have new birth into a living hope,  1 Pet. 1:3
7. It is the foundation of Christian victory,  Rom. 6:10; Eph 2:4-10; Phil. 3:10; Col.  3:1-4
8. It provides confident assurance in our own bodily resurrection,  Rom. 810-11
9. The resurrection is one of the foundation stones of our preaching,  1 Cor. 15:14
10. It is instrumental in our forgiveness,  1 Cor. 15:17
11. If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain, empty,  1. Cor. 15:17
12. If Christ be not raised, you are still in your sin,  1 Cor. 15:17
13. If Christ be not raised, those who have died have perished,  1 Cor. 15:18
14.  It is the cornerstone of certainty for our whole faith,  1 Cor. 15:17

The God who Stands

December 19, 2008

In the Bible from beginning to end, God stands eternal and majestic.  He is neither inactive nor speechless.  He, as the great and sovereign God who stands, is also the God who stoops, speaks, shows and stays.  Not only He stands, but also His Word; He remains and His truth as well holds good and abides valid.  Here are some thoughts with a lot of help from Carl F. H. Henry, God, Revelation and Authority, vol. 5, pp. 9 – 13.

 

Henry writes, “Contemporary man seems to have lost God’s address.  But that is not all.  He is unsure how to pronounce God’s name, and, at times, unsure of . . . whether, in fact God is nameable. . . . (W)hile man the spiritual vagabond may be confused about God’s identity and address, God in self-revelation confronts him continually.  God stands eternal and majestic.”

 

The God who stands.

 

  • God stands independent of all the created order.  This word (from the Latin) means to stand under, the substance on which all else depends but which itself depends on nothing.  God stands free of all dependence; intrinsically free of the created universe.
  • Emboldened by God’s standing presence and Word, a stumbling church can take heart.  God stands – and only those who stand in, with and under Him will withstand His judgment of and upon prodigal mankind and nations.
  • God stands above and behind and under and in all created reality.  Except for its preservation by God who stands and who stands by His creation, all creation is vulnerable to non-being.
  • God stands fast.  He is the steadfast God, not a vacillating sovereign.  He stands and neither falters nor stumbles.  He is secure in Himself; God who stands fast when all else seems or is insecure.  God who stands is unfallen, is invulnerable to assault, and as even Satan knows, God’s standing or repute is beyond reproach.
  • Not only does God stand under the universe, but in a classic sense, He alone understands it.  God plans and decrees the world and man, and that because He ordains the future He knows all contingencies.  He does not leave in doubt the final triumph of good and the final doom of evil.  He does not leave in doubt the eternal bliss of the elect in Christ; in earthly political affairs human leaders may ‘stand for election’ but in the kingdom of God they stand by God’s election.
  • God, in His omniscience withstands all and every form of evil.  No man can escape God’s full comprehension of human thought, motive and act, nor escape responsibility for them when God stands in judgment.
  • In the incarnation, death and resurrection of God the Son, God in effect becomes the stand-in for rebellious and helpless sinners.  He took their place.
  • God makes not simple a ‘one-night stand’ but a stand to the finish against evil.
  • Someday the righteous Lord will summon each and every one of us into His presence and never will God stand taller than when the impenitent wicked stand trial and He acquits the penitent on the ground of Christ’s substitutionary death alone, while He condemns the perverse who have spurned the offer of redemption.

 

The God who stoops

 

  • Built upon the truth of the incarnation, we hear announced that the standing God has become the God who stoops to speak and show Himself in self-disclosure.  This God condescended to create a finite and real world inclusive of humans made in His rational and moral image.  He also condescended to redeem a renegade humanity and a fallen cosmos.  He condescended to make Himself known and through inspired envoys to republish His holy purposes to man in revolt.  He condescended to provide redemption for sinners through the eternal Word become flesh.  He condescended to go to the cross – to death on the cross – in holy covenantal love.

 

  • His stooping was not to something beneath His dignity, not to something degrading or unworthy, but a stooping that manifested, in a single act, the outgoing justice and love of God who stands in moral and loving majesty.  As of today He still stoops to save, and heaven’s glories remain accessible to those who repent.  Man who has forfeited his standing by creation may still find new standing in Christ because the majestic stooping God proffers grace to contrite sinners.

 

And finally we understand that the God who stands in majesty and who stooped to redeem a fallen world is the God who stays.

 

  • We may speak of a runaway generation or of a runaway world, but God is no runaway God.  He is here to stay.
  • God is the supreme Stayer.  He stays with His creation though man flaws it.  He stays Himself from destroying it when man falls in Eden. 
  • David can pray, “They came upon me . . . but the Lord was my stay.
  • God supports, steadies and sustains man and the world, preserving His scarred creation for a redemptive purpose.  Were it not for his staying power, man and the world would crumble into dust and disappear into nothingness.
  • God stays with the fallen world, maintaining a settled presence and preserving activity it.
  • The God of patience often stays the hand of judgment.
  • Fallen man who overstays his opportunity for grace will find the righteous God staying to judge human presumption no less than human rebellion.